Gifts piled in our meeting room
For the last couple of weeks donations of new toys and clothes, food and cosmetics have been flooding into Children North East from all over the region. As soon as they arrive in our meeting room (above) they are sorted ready for distribution to families in need. Not just families that Children North East know, but we also distribute them via other voluntary organisations, Children's Centres, health visitors and social workers so that families who are struggling to make ends meet are able to provide their children with a proper Christmas.
We have been overwhelmed by people's generosity this year, well over 7,000 gifts (and still rising) have been given, worth many thousands of pounds. It is amazing that even though times are hard for everyone, the warm-hearted people of the north east can still think of others worse off than themselves. Perhaps it is because the recession, rises in cost of living, fewer public services and changes to welfare benefits have been so far reaching that everyone knows someone who has lost their job, is working short hours, has not had a pay increase in years, is under the threat of redundancy or who has lost tax credits, Disability Living Allowance or Sickness Benefit.
When it is people that you know - friends, neighbours, relatives, colleagues - who are finding it particulaly hard this Christmas, you want to help if you can, it's human nature. It gives the lie to what we are constantly told, that the poor have only themselves to blame. The close knit communities of the north east who have seen so much hardship over the years, know that is simply not true. And noone wants to see bairns go without especially at this time of year.
So Thank You so much. And as you enjoy the season, please spare a thought too for the Children North East staff who will be working over the Christmas period to support families in dire need struggling to get by.