Volunteers Dave and Jan stand with Andy in front of his fire-damaged house

© Tim Mossford/UNP

Giving can wipe away tears, make tea, perform surgery and feed hungry children.

Or it can sell clothes, bake cakes and restart someone’s heart.

On this #GivingTuesday, we celebrate how giving supports people in crisis in the UK and around the world.

1. Someone is giving every minute

Every year, 22,000 people give their time to the British Red Cross as volunteers.

Some, like Dave Franklin and Jan Foreman, are emergency volunteers on call round the clock.

At 3.30am one February morning, the pair received a call. The fire brigade were putting out a blaze at the home of Andy Goodwin, his partner Kim Annetts and their two daughters in Gloucester.

Dave and Jan arrived straightaway to support the family.

“If they hadn’t been there I’d have been standing out in the freezing cold not knowing what to do, to be honest,” Andy said.

Dave said: “We got them wrapped up, because they were still in their nightclothes, and got them a cup of tea and then slowly started to talk to them about how we could help them.

“We were really, truly grateful and very thankful that they were there,” Andy added.

2. Giving can inspire you
A young man walks through mud with blue tents in the background at a camp in Calais, France

© Tom Pilston/Panos

As well as working for the British Red Cross, Joanna Hill volunteers as an English teacher for young refugees in London.

Recently she went with many other volunteers to support young people who had just arrived in the UK from the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.

“The young people were amazing and so caring towards one another,” Jo said.

“They came from many different backgrounds and got to know each over a really long time. They were looking out for each other.

“Many had been learning each other’s languages in the camp and were translating for each other.

“For instance, one boy from Sudan was speaking Beja (a language from the Horn of Africa) to a boy from Eritrea, who could then translate into Arabic for a boy from Syria.

“They also all made sure that everyone was looked after. One young person’s friends made sure that he was seen by a doctor for injuries he sustained as a result of torture.

“These young people were really resilient but it’s good to know that they have now reached safety.”

3. Giving at home can reach across the world
A world globe showing North and South America sits on a table

©Brian A. Jackson/Getty Images

Diana Hodges, from Warwick, has volunteered for many Red Cross services for more than 60 years, starting at age 10.

“I was involved in the service which traces and reunites families.

“One of my favourite memories was reuniting a Spanish lady with her brother. She had lost touch with him when she came to England and he went to South America.

“I told her I’d do what I could but couldn’t make any promises.

“Eighteen months later I was able to tell her that we’d found her brother. It was incredible. He visited me when he came to England.”

4. Giving can take you places you never expected to go
A young woman wearing a Red Cross t-shirt abseils down a building way above the ground

© Vikki and Katie Western

Sisters Vikki and Katie Western were 11 and 13 when they lost their father in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

Ten years later, they came up with a unique and ambitious yearlong ‘2 Sisters 10 Challenges’ fundraising campaign.

“The past ten years have been tough,” Vikki and Katie said.

“We lost our incredible dad. However, we actually felt lucky – we were able to return to the UK but millions couldn’t walk away from the devastation.

“Thankfully, the Red Cross was there to help and support in any way it could and it is still there today.”

The sisters took on extreme sports, from a wing-walk and skydive to abseiling and the longest zip line in Europe.

They managed to keep their feet on the ground for at least some of the time with a trek along the Great Wall of China and the Red Shoe Walk in London.

Vikki and Katie finished with a very personal challenge. Starting at their childhood home, they walked to the home their father grew up in for a well-earned cup of tea with their very proud granddad.

Overall, the pair raised an astounding £4,000 for the British Red Cross.

5. Giving saves lives
A woman wearing a Red Cross helmet holds a young baby in a blanket at night

© Francesco Malavolta

At just one month old, baby Desmond made the dangerous journey from Libya to Italy on a rubber dinghy.

He and his mother Susan were fleeing conflict and hunger in Nigeria.

They are among thousands of people rescued by the Red Cross on the dangerous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Italy.

Sadly, this year more than 4,500 others never reached safety and drowned in the cold sea.

Many families become separated by people traffickers when they board boats from Libya.

Fatmata became separated from her children and was shaking uncontrollably when the Red Cross found her dingy.

Luckily after a few tense minutes, Fatmata’s children were rescued from another dinghy. They had an emotional reunion with their mother on our rescue boat.

6. Giving is in our DNA
A group of Red Cross volunteers sit in a line on a picnic table wearing Red Cross tabards

© Andrew Hassan

We exist because in 1859, a Swiss man named Henry Dunant felt compassion for wounded soldiers from both sides of a battle.

He rallied local people to give aid and now the Red Cross provides essential support here at home and in 190 countries around the world.

But we don’t all have to start an international movement to give to others.

Sometimes even a cup of tea is enough to support someone at home. Other times, a lift back from hospital is all it takes to make life easier for someone.

Even giving your old clothes or shopping at one of our charity shops can do amazing things – our shops raised £7.1 million last year.

Everyone can give something. This Giving Tuesday, let’s stand with people in crisis and give in whatever way we can.