Dreams coming true this Santa Stork

Unicorn (3)

“Dreams are the playground of unicorns” – Bruce Coville

This story is about why the Santa Stork team work so hard – to give back the magic of Christmas and make wishes come true for every child on Santa Stork’s list. This was certainly the case when a 4 year old girl, whose family we’d been supporting, had told Mum that all she wanted for Christmas was a giant unicorn. It’s been a really challenging year for them and as such, money has been particularly tight. This special request was passed on to us through their Outreach Worker and was in turn added to the hundreds of presents on our Santa Stork list at any one time in the lead up to Christmas.

In November, during the height of our Christmas campaign, we were kindly supported by the Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill who invited us to hold a stall at their Christmas lights switch-on event. There we had our Christmas ‘giving tree’, which was full of gift tags, on each tag there was a special present request for a local child in need.

We had many shoppers wanting to get involved, by either; choosing a tag, hitting the shops and returning with the gift; or, taking a tag home and making an online purchase. It was lovely to see many familiar faces who had made Santa Stork part of their family’s Christmas tradition – a tangible way to involve their children in giving back.

One of our volunteers on the day had actually been helped by Stripey Stork in the past. She was keen to support the campaign, knowing first hand how much it had helped her family at a difficult time in their lives, and at what can be a particularly challenging time of year for many. The unicorn gift request caught her friend’s eye – the challenge was on! Shortly afterwards, the mission was successfully accomplished!

On Santa Stork Giving Day – a day in December when all of the Santa Stork gifts are wrapped by a hall full of volunteers and collected/distributed by those supporting these vulnerable families – wrapping the giant unicorn was a bit of a challenge in itself. Of all the presents, this was one you don’t forget in a hurry so it was lovely to see the unicorn make an appearance once again.

But, the unicorn’s story doesn’t end there…

When Mum received the wrapped present, there was no mistaking that her daughter’s request had been answered and she was going to be able to give her the Christmas she deserved. She felt compelled to send us a message of appreciation:

“Thank you so much for our Christmas gifts. My outreach worker passed them all on to us today. I could cry. We think it’s a giant unicorn for my four year old. Which is exactly what she asked me for. Thank you so so much. My year has been a tough one and your charity have just been a life line for my daughter and I. Please all have a merry Christmas. And know you are all the best of humanity. Thankyou xxx.”

We were so touched to hear how this was going to make this little girl’s Christmas. It hits the spot of what Santa Stork is all about and it was lovely to be able to pass this on to the team who work so tirelessly to make these children’s wishes come true.

And the final piece of the story came on Christmas morning when Mum sent us a thank you message with a photo of her daughter, absolutely beaming with her arms wrapped tightly around her much-wished for new best friend:

“Thank you so much to the wonderful angels at Stripey Stalk (sic) and to the amazing person who donated this. We LOVE our presents. Merry Christmas to you all xx.”

And the unicorn’s journey is complete. A Santa Stork story which has come full circle – from the kind donation which happened because of someone who knew what a lifeline Stripey Stork had been to their family, to being a lifeline to another family. The circle of kindness, made possible because of the incredible response to this year’s campaign. Over 3000 gifts distributed to local families in need and we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved – together!

We wish every Santa Stork family all the best for 2020, and the assurance that we will support them as best we can until they’re back on their feet! If you’d like to make a contribution throughout the year, there are many ways to get involved, from volunteering to making an online donation. Thank you and we look forward to working with you in 2020!

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