“The family were so appreciative; I had a hard time persuading them to accept the gifts.”
This was the immediate reaction from one family who were presented with their Santa Stork gift bundle this week. Surprise. Relief. Immense gratitude. It felt like all their Christmases had come at once because, up until that moment, they couldn’t understand how this Christmas was even going to happen.
This year has been an incredibly tough year for them. Before Covid-19 Dad was working in a job he loved, he was healthy and all was good. Then, like so many others, he was furloughed and things started to spiral out of control. They had to wait five weeks before any money was coming in and with no safety net to fall back on, they were in crisis mode. They had no choice but to rely on meals and vouchers from the school to keep their three children fed.
It’s been an especially tough and lonely time for Mum. Homeschooling was particularly challenging as their youngest has autism and all he wanted to do was run off steam outside; not possible with their tiny garden.
Dad lost his job in July and is desperate to find work; not for want of trying. On top of this, he recently found out he has health issues which are going to make finding and holding down a job even more difficult. With no choice but to rely on benefits, there’s not enough income to keep them afloat.
The fun they had last Christmas seemed like a distant memory and that it had happened to someone else. In contrast, this Christmas was starting to feel far too near and all too real. They couldn’t fathom how they were going to be able to afford the luxury of buying Christmas gifts, when they had bills to pay and five mouths to feed. But the worst of it was what and how’d tell their boys. As with all children at this time of year, their excitement was already off the scale.
But still, when their support worker turned up with Christmas in the boot of her car, Mum still needed some gentle persuasion to accept the gifts; particularly the treat we’d included for her and her husband. A proud lady who doesn’t want to have to need help. But, through no fault of their own, they do and she’s ever so grateful that we have. She got in touch with us to pass on her thanks:
“I just want to say thank you so much for our Christmas presents, they were delivered today and I was in absolute shock! I can’t wait to see my boys’ faces on Christmas Day.”
Many of the families we are supporting this Christmas are like this one; they’ve never had to use a baby bank or food bank before. But their needs are necessary and immediate. Christmas won’t wait!
We are working hard to bridge this gap and give these families the Christmas they deserve, with the dignity they deserve. To date we’ve received 2,357 children’s gift requests and, thanks to our amazing community, have been able to complete 1,194 of these already. But that’s still a shortfall of 1,163 (pretty much half), with more requests coming in every day.
If you are able to buy just ONE of these gifts then you’ll be making the difference to ONE child’s Christmas, a gesture which should never be underestimated. A purchase very well spent!
Here’s where you can pledge a Santa Stork gift – https://stripeystork.org.uk/santashop/
Thank you for helping us to give Christmas with dignity.