Santa Stork 2023 – the power of community

Santa Stork 2023 blog

Once again in 2023, and thanks to the incredible efforts of our dedicated team and the support of numerous individuals and organisations, the magic of Santa Stork became a reality to bring Christmas to families across Surrey and beyond. Throughout this festive season, our commitment to making a difference in the lives of local families remained and we were determined to bring choice, dignity, and care to those who needed it most. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on the heart-warming tale of Santa Stork 2023. It was a year of resilience, compassion, and the power of community coming together to make a difference.

Our biggest campaign yet

With your support, this Christmas we have provided main presents for 6,302 children.

We also gave out 1,325 Christmas bundles (Christmas jumpers/toys/books from our pre-loved stock).

And 565 parents/carers received a wrapped gift.

Together all these wonderful items have a value of approximately £122,632. 

Santa Stork 2023

Santa’s Workshop

The Christmas tree was the same, as orange and sparkly as ever, but this year we were in a different location. Having taken on the lease of a second site in Redhill back in the summer, we had the perfect location to set up Santa Stork HQ. This ensured that our important core work of providing vital everyday essentials to families could continue undisturbed from our warehouse in Reigate.

Santa Stork Tree

Christmas magic

At Santa Stork we believe.

We believe in choice, so that the families can choose the perfect gift from our catalogue that their child will love and cherish. Once again, we partnered with Toy Barnhaus. With their help we put together our catalogue of toys, making sure we had the perfect gifts for every child from babies to teenagers. Our all-time favourites, the football and art sets, were as popular as ever and little ones will be over the moon with Peppa Pig, Barbie, or the Avenger toys. We know there will be much excitement across the region this Christmas day.

We believe in dignity, so we include wrapping paper, tape and gift tags so that parents and carers can feel part of the giving process. Asking for help isn’t always easy and it’s important that parents and carers feel included, know what their children are going to receive, and can check and wrap the gifts.

We believe in care, so we include stocking fillers and gifts for parents and carers to bring that extra Christmas magic. Often parents and carers don’t have a support network around them, so they don’t receive a gift themselves. It’s important to us that they feel included too. Some of the toys in our selection require batteries so we made sure that these were included in every present bag. We know that children are excited to play with their presents as soon as they’ve opened them!

Throughout the year, our amazing volunteers sort through your weekly donations. We always set aside any Christmas-themed clothing, books, and soft toys that go into a separate pile so they can be added to the Christmas present bags. So many children will enjoy these fabulous festive extras.

Community support

A campaign like Santa Stork doesn’t happen without the fantastic support from the community and this year we had this in bucket loads. We can’t thank everyone enough for their time, donations, and efforts. Individuals who volunteered their time, organisations that made donations and held collections, and schools and community groups who collected items for us, we are grateful to each and every one of you. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Merstham Cricket Club held a donation week collecting Christmas chocolate, Lego sets and toiletry sets.
  • The Pheasant at Buckland held a cake sale and organised a collection of toys, and toiletry sets.
  • The Prince of Wales pub collected some fantastic brand-new toys.
  • Diver’s Cove held a charity swim and donated the proceeds as well as collecting Christmas chocolate and brand new gifts.
  • 5th Reigate Guides collected Christmas-themed chocolate.
  • Equippers Church in Weybridge collected an incredible 283 individual stocking fillers and volunteered at Santa Stork HQ wrapping 125 toiletry gift sets.
  • Reigate Methodist Church collected Christmas jumpers, promoted the campaign and even had a Stripey Stork themed Christmas tree at their Christmas Tree Festival.
  • The Nourishment Academy donated brand new toiletry sets which made fantastic gifts for teenagers, parents and carers.
  • Coulsdon Jets under 9s donated through our Santa Shop and even produced their own song for us.
  • Father Jim and Chief Elf Nathan from Christ The King church in Salfords organised donations and also took part in a sponsored slim to raise money for Santa Stork.

Community support for Santa Stork

  • The support from school across the county has been fantastic, with staff, students, parents and carers all getting involved to help provide gifts and stocking fillers. Our thanks to Reigate Parish School, Reigate Grammar School, Reigate School, Ashcombe School, Dunottar School, Oatlands School, Cardinal Newman School, Reigate Valley College and Reigate College.

School collections for Santa Stork

 

Drop off locations

The extra joy that a stocking filler brings should never be underestimated but we always need your help to make this happen. We asked for donations of Christmas-themed chocolates, Lego sets and toiletry gift sets and we were fortunate to have the help of many Surrey libraries and several businesses who acted as drop off points. Thanks to The Belfry Shopping Centre, Surrey Libraries (Ash, Ashford, Ashtead, Banstead, Bookham, Chertsey, Cobham, Dittons, Dorking, Egham, Epsom, Esher, Ewell, Godalming, Guildford, Horley, Horsley, Leatherhead, Merstham, Redhill, Reigate, Staines, Shepperton, Walton and West Byfleet), Cobham Centre, Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Complex, Eastwick Park Medical Practice, Oasis Child Care Centre, Ralph James Estate Agents in Banstead, Dorking, Redhill and Reigate, Walter & Mair Estate Agents in Coulsdon and The Waterhouse Café in Kingswood.

Drop off point collections for Santa Stork

Santa Stork heroes

We are incredibly fortunate to have so many amazing individuals that support Santa Stork and help to bring Christmas joy to so many children across Surrey. When it comes to generosity and unwavering support there were some who deserve a special mention.

The team at Toy Barnhaus are so brilliant to work with. This is the 4th year we’ve worked with them and almost all the presents we distribute have been purchased from them. They continue to provide a reliable and helpful service and it’s great to support a local business.

Toy Barnhaus van and toys

The Walton Charity have been long term partners of Santa Stork, and their financial support means that we can provide gifts for all the referrals made from the Elmbridge borough. They organise their own fundraiser and match the donations made. But this year the support went one step further and donations were also matched by Elmbridge Borough Council – amazing! This meant that a £10 donation became £32.50 (including gift aid). This had a significant impact on the level of support we could provide with gorgeous gift bundles going out to over 800 children and 40 parents/carers in Elmbridge.

Walton Charity visit Santa Stork

Jo and Emily help make Santa Stork extra special by donating a huge collection of Lego sets every single year. Their selflessness ensures that countless homes across Surrey will be filled with sheer excitement and happiness on Christmas morning.

Donated Lego sets

Matt from Surrey Moves arrived at Santa Stork like a real life Santa Claus! He wanted to give back to the community so donated 100 selection boxes and £400 raised from football scratch cards.

Matt from Surrey moves with 100 selection boxes for Santa Stork

The Waterhouse Café in Kingswood really did go above and beyond for Santa Stork. They created a mini shop within their café where customers could buy a stocking filler and immediately donate it to Santa Stork. A great idea, which led to a huge amount of donations totalling over £300.

Waterhouse cafe donations

In addition to being one of our drop off locations, the team at Ralph James Estate Agents fundraised for Stripey Stork at the Reigate Christmas Fair. Despite the chilly weather, their efforts were nothing short of incredible, helping us raise over £300.

Ralph James Estate Agents

Spreading the word

We knew that in order to be able to fulfil all requests, we would need some help spreading the word and reaching new supporters. A huge thank you to Charlotte Hawkins from ITV. We first connected in the summer when she paid a visit to our warehouse, witnessing first-hand the incredible work we do in supporting families across Surrey. This Christmas, Charlotte joined us once again, lending a hand in selecting presents and packing gift bags. Having seen the scale of our operation and being moved by the additional touches we offer, we were absolutely thrilled when, just a week later, she brought a huge donation of clothing collected by the kind parents from her daughter’s school.

Charlotte Hawkins visits Santa Stork HQ

We are also grateful to ‘Surrey Mamas’ and friends and the power of social media. They became elves for the morning when they visited Santa Stork and spent some time packing gift bags and wrapping presents. It was great to meet them and talk about how important Santa Stork is to the families we support. Thanks to them, and their subsequent Instagram posts, our campaign reached all corners of Surrey and beyond.

Surrey Mamas visit Santa Stork

Santa Stork Elves

Santa Stork relies on our amazing team of Stripey Stork ‘Elves’ who were ably led by Chief Elf Abbie, with project support from Chris, Gill, Nancy, Sarah and Jayne. Our volunteer Elves generously dedicate their time, bringing festive joy and tackling any task with enthusiasm. We simply couldn’t have done it without you. A huge thank you for all the love and care you’ve put into everything: Alison, Angie, Ann T, Anna M, Becky, Caron, Charlotte, Cora, Emma, Elizabeth, Emily S, Fiona B, Harriet, Heather, Jenny, Julie L, Julie N, Julie R, Kate F, Kate H, Kersten, Kim, Larissa, Laura B, Lindsey, Maisie, Margarida, Maxine, Moira, Natalie, Pauline, Rowena, Sam B, Sarah C, Sarah S, Susan, Trudy and Ursula.

Santa Stork volunteers

Working as a team

We were once again joined at Santa’s workshop by an army of corporate volunteers. They arrived in their Christmas jumpers, enjoyed mince pies and sang along to the Christmas tunes. There’s no doubt they all left full of festive spirit!

Corporate Volunteers at Santa Stork

They were tasked with a wide range of activities, including gift wrapping, order checking, assembling present bags, unloading deliveries, keeping stock in order, meeting with referral partners, and even lending a hand in sorting out the recycling. We cannot thank them enough for their enthusiasm and hard work throughout the campaign. Thank you to Caytons Law, Celtic Contractors, HSBC, Hyundai Capital, Lexis Nexis, Nestle Purina, Partners Group, Pfizer, Power Tutors, SABP, ABC, Inclusion Team, SES Water, Space and Time, Total Energies and WTW.

 

Corporate Volunteers at Santa Stork

We are grateful to all the businesses who made monetary donations, pledged gifts through the Santa Shop or organised gift collections in their offices.

The Santa delivery team

It’s like they’ve learned from the big man himself! Thank you to Karl Hyder Man-With-A-Van, Morr & Co, SES Water, Stefan & Tory from Opus Tech and The Mayor of Reigate and Banstead for delivering presents to all corners of Surrey. Thanks to you so many more families have been able to receive their presents before the big day.

Santa Stork deliveries

The difference it makes

Behind every request is a family who are struggling, who want to give their children a memorable Christmas and who often find it hard to ask for help. This is at the heart of Santa Stork and something we never forget.

“I haven’t told mum that I’d requested presents, but I knew she was planning to wrap up some of their existing toys for Christmas.”

– referral partner Croydon

“Mum couldn’t sleep as she was so worried about not being able to provide any presents for her three children. She had a look of pure joy on her face when I told her she could pick anything from the catalogue for each of her children, not just the one attending our school.”

– School in Redhill

“Was absolutely shocked and appreciative of this holiday gift for my daughter and the fact that tape and wrapping was included was so helpful and unexpected. My daughter has wanted a Squish Beanie for a long time and she will be over the moon, I can’t wait to see her little face when she opens it. I cannot thank you enough for the kindness and generosity of doing this for others.”

– Family

“We were over the moon with the generosity of our gifts. These presents mean a lot to our family in these current hard times we are facing. Thank you for your hard work and everything you do for our family and everyone else.”

– Family

We wish a very happy Christmas to all the families we have supported this Santa Stork. Team Stork is committed to being there for every family who needs us, not just at Christmastime or in the coming year but as long as they need to get back on their feet.

Santa Stork Team

As the gifts make their way to families across Surrey and surrounding areas, all that’s left to say is a huge thank you to everyone involved. You’ve helped to make Christmas special for over 6,000 children. Merry Christmas, one and all!

Santa Stork 2023 donors and supporters – thank you!

5th Reigate Guides
Acumina
Asda Burgh Heath
Ashcombe School
Ashford House Consultancy Ltd
Bailhache Linton
Baldwin and Robinson Law
Beauty Banks
Book Trust
Bryden Johnson
Caytons Law
Cardinal Newman School
Celtic Contractors
Chantal Cox (post box topper in Kingswood)
Charles Lewis Foundation
Charlotte Hawkins
Christ the King Church, Salfords
Churches of Godstone and Blindley Heath
Clarion
Cobham Centre
Coulsdon Athletic Jets (Under 9’s)
Croydon Whitgift Rotary Club
Diver’s Cove
Dunottar School
Eastwick Park Medical Practice
Elmbridge Borough Council
Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Complex
Emily & Jo Kennett
Equippers Church, Weybridge
eSure
Fidelity International
Future Gymnastics
Gamely Games
Hatchlands School
HSBC
Hyundai Capital
ICG
IGF
John Cayton
Kingswood Village Association
Lexis Nexis
Matt Hutchinson
Mayor of Reigate and Banstead
Merstham Cricket Club
Merstham Village Club
Morr & Co
Nicola B Designs
North Downs School, Betchworth
Oasis Child Care Centre
Oatlands Primary School, Weybridge
Oh Creative
Onmyy LLP
Partners Group
Penguin Random House
Power tutors
Prince of Wales, Reigate
Ralph James Estate Agent
Raven Housing Trust
Redhill FC
Reigate College
Reigate Grammar School
Reigate Ladies Joggers
Reigate Methodist Church
Reigate Parish School
Reigate School
Reigate Valley College
S&P Global Market Intelligence
SABP, ABC, Inclusion Health Team
Sal’s Shoes
Sam West and friends
Scheidt & Bachmann
SES Water
Shanly Foundation
Space and Time
Stanwell Events
Stefan & Tory from Opus Tech
Surrey Libraries
Surrey Moves
Surrey County Councillor Rebecca Paul’ Community Fund
Surrey County Councillor Victor Lewanski’s Community Fund
Surrey Mamas
T4 Mechanical and Electrical
Tesco Hookwood
Tesco Sutton Cheam
The Belfry Shopping Centre
The Manda Slater Memorial Fund
The Pheasant, Betchworth
The Nourishment Academy
Total Energies
Toy Barnhaus
Toyota
Waitrose Banstead
Waitrose Dorking
Walter & Mair Estate Agents
Walton Charity
Waterhouse Cafe
Wingate
Wisley Foundation
WTW
Zircon

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