Christmas in a Box
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions resulting in ongoing hardship and isolation experienced by families, and not being able to host our usual family Christmas party and outings, we set ourselves the challenge of increasing family well-being at Christmas by delivering ‘Christmas in a Box’:
· Food to help alleviate hardship over Christmas and support a special meal.
· Christmas craft activities for families to enjoy doing together and help a special Christmas or new year meal: Christmas crackers, candle decorating and a Christmas mobile.
· Wrapped presents for the children in the family aged 0-18years.
“Ah thank you so much for our Christmas box, everything was in there that we needed for a special Christmas. The food, presents for the children and decorations for us to make something of Christmas. We had a quiet, peaceful Christmas. Thank you for everything.”
We partnered with Localgiving foundation through their covid-19 match funding campaign, and set up a campaign to help raise funds. A huge thank you to our generous volunteers and giving partners who contributed to this, we raised a fantastic £680 in donations and gift aid, which is turn enabled us to receive £655 of match funding from DCMS who were partnering with Localgiving. We are also grateful to Brent Children’s Service who donated unused Christmas gifts last year which many of the children benefited from. In total the project cost £1767 which worked out at £49 per family.
With donations coming in, team got underway planning. Rowena took to task designing crafts and activities, as much as possible using recycled goods such as jam jars, wax, old filing resources and material and spending evenings being a production line for a few weeks.
“The children made the stockings / crackers, colour in the Christmas pictures to put all over the house. They had fun making and they loved the presents. Thank you is not enough for all you have done”.
Research led to a final list of what food and treats were priority within our budget, and the most cost effective place to buy different items. Sharmaine sourced Christmas bags for packaging, along with the fun and challenging task of choosing and wrapping gifts for individual children.
“Thank you so much for the presents and food. K loved her power bank and the boys are always playing with the football together. Food was helpful as I am having to self isolate and can’t go out.”
We quickly realised fitness training would have been advised before weekly trips, unloading shopping, transporting to the office, up the stairs, packing bags, getting it all back down the stairs from our office! It’s hard to image the scale until you start moving it! One delivery driver commented “You must have a big family!!” as I unloaded 35 bags of rice, 18 chickens, 35 bags of potatoes, carrots, macaroni, tins…you get the picture! With shopping no longer being delivered to your doorstep in bags, the children made a super team helping to unload hundreds of individual items on multiple occasions.
“Thank you so much we are overwhelmed by all the support, food which will see us through, and gift for C, thank you so much.”
Families all received a phone call in advance to check in how they were doing emotionally with tier 4 restrictions, and to allow for preferences with 2 choices of meat / fish and to note allergies or faith requirements such as halal. The bags were packed and ready to go, with the final fresh food added on the day of delivery. We were grateful for the help of 4 volunteers working with team, to help us deliver the hampers on the 18th and 22nd December, as we cover all of East London which made for a lot of driving. What a happy and privileged task delivering ‘Christmas’ to the doorstep and getting to greet families in person, in this season of isolation.
Team followed up with phone calls after Christmas or in the New Year, to check in how families were doing and able to listen and support through the anxiety and struggles currently faced, including several recovering from covid-19 virus. We received much positive feedback and appreciation with what a boost the Christmas delivery had meant. We are thankful for the opportunity to contribute in this way to supporting families well-being in such a difficult season and grateful for all the generosity of our supporters and Localgiving Foundation for funding the Christmas giving.
“Really want to thank you, I wasn’t expecting such a gift and all. We really appreciate the food and the gifts and C made all the decorations and enjoyed. Thank you again. It was awesome. The hampers were above and beyond and really appreciate. Thank you.”