Supporting the Community
Christmas Appeal 2015
‘How one simple act of kindness can restore your faith in humanity’
By Catherine Burrell, 12 November 2016
In October 2015 whilst shopping with my son for one of the Shoe Box appeals which provides a gift for children and adults in various countries around the world, we begun to talk about the people in need who live in our community. I decided that it would be really amazing if as a community we could come together to support some of the less fortunate individuals closer to home.
I was unsure how people would respond given the amount of charitable appeals taking place at this time of year. I agreed that I would focus on collecting donations for one of the women’s refuges in the area and that I would request the help and support of Facebook friends to support me in making this happen.
‘This Christmas whilst we try and support families in need around the world, wouldn’t it be great if we could bring a bit of happiness to families in our local communities. When you are shopping for your children, family or friends, if you are able to afford another small gift for either an adult, child or a food donation to help a less fortunate family in our area and would like to help me please inbox me.’
Many thanks Catherine
(Facebook Post – 8 Nov 2015)
I was taken aback by the immediate responses received enquiring about the type of donations requested and also whether I would accept second-hand clothing and toys that were in good condition. I was extremely surprised given the number of charitable organisations making similar requesting for gifts at this time of year.
Within 24 hours the amount of interest in making this appeal happen had grown significantly, I was able to consider providing similar provisions to other services who support individuals and families in the local area.
‘I would just like to say a special thank you to everyone who has made a donation so far to help some of the less fortunate families in our area. These are only some of the items of clothing that I received today alone and I have now bagged up ready to go. If you would like to help, I am making a special request for toiletries for both men and women, small gifts for children and teenagers and food items that can be made up into hampers. I am also collecting men and women’s warm clothing, children’s clothing, blankets, bedding and toys. If you are able to make any form of donation, please inbox me all will be greatly received. Thank you once again so far for your kindness and generosity.’
(Facebook Post – 16 Nov 2015)
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‘As a result of this the 2015 Christmas appeal
‘Hi all, firstly can I say a big thank you to everyone who have given generously both gifts, toys and clothing for some of the services in our community. Just a gentle reminder to the people who have shown interest, this will be the last week that I will be able to accept any gifts, toys or clothing however will still be happy to accept any food donations up until 17th December.’ ? (Facebook Post – 23 Nov 2015)
‘Just wondered if anyone had any furniture that they no longer need? Bed, dining table, sofa, chairs etc… obviously, these would have to be in good condition to pass on to a family who would really appreciate your help. If you think you might be able to help please inbox me. Many thanks.’
(Facebook Post – 28 Nov 2015)
In summary, due to the generosity of the local community we were able to provide a little extra for both individuals and families accessing, Stockton and Middlesbrough Women’s Refuges, ‘A Way Out’ Charity Stockton and Bridge House Homeless Shelter.
Within the refuges, each mum received a dressing gown, pair of slipper socks and a toiletry or makeup/hair set, wrapped for them. Each child received an age appropriate gift. The gifts for the children were left unwrapped so that the parents of the children could take part and feel involved with the appeal. Along with clothing, toys for the communal area and also the addition of furniture which some of the families accessing the service were in need of. Food hampers were put together for one refuge, the second received a hamper of food to feed the 15 families on Christmas day.
We were able to support ‘A way out’ by donating toys and clothing which were able to be given out to families.
Bridge House Homeless Shelter received lots of second hand clothing, predominantly winter clothing, coats, hats, scarfs, blankets and bedding sets to support the men and women accessing the Shelter find alternative accommodation. In addition, we were also able to provide a wrapped toiletry set/gift for each of the men and women living in the shelter. Food was also donated which could be distributed and also utilised within the shelter’s kitchen.
I initially started out with the goal to help one service however as a community we were able to do so much more, as one member of staff stated, “this act of kindness has restored our faith in humanity”. If it was not for the kindness and generosity of the local community, none of this would have been achieved.
‘Thank you to friends and family and most importantly members of the community who out the goodness of their own hearts and without asking any questions have kindly donated in an abundance clothing, bedding, toiletries, gifts and toys. Together you have helped to provide a little extra to over 24 plus families and further men and women this Christmas. Your kindness has been shared out between at least 4 services and on the 23rd December, I will be making the final delivery of food parcels to these services. I cannot begin to express how overwhelmed I am with people’s generosity and like one service stated at the beginning of the week, ‘this act of kindness has restored their faith in humanity’. You should all be feeling very proud. Wishing you a very merry and peaceful Christmas, Catherine’ x
(Facebook Post – 10 Dec 2015)