The Salvation Army in Somercotes recently helped local families experiencing a difficult time throughout the Christmas period. Forty children were given Christmas presents and 20 families received food parcels from the Christian church and charity that worked with local social services in Derbyshire County Council to distribute them.
The Salvation Army run their national campaign every year, ensuring thousands of children across the UK will wake up to presents on Christmas day.
Local Salvation Army church leader, Captain Vicky Owen said: “During the festive season when many are enjoying celebrations with friends and family, others are struggling to make ends meet. By providing toys for parents to give their children, it can take some of the pressure off families. Many families too, will still feel the financial outlay of Christmas in January.”
People were invited to drop off a new unused toy for a child aged nought to 16 years old at their nearest participating Salvation Army church or centre from mid-November to early December. Many Salvation Army churches were also collecting food for families, similar to Somercotes Salvation Army.
Reading Central Salvation Army packed 750 food parcels for families in need at Christmas and in Norfolk 13,000 toys were distributed to local families, with the figure rising by 35% this Christmas (in the number of children being referred to The Salvation Army from various agencies).
Captain Vicky Owen said: “This was my first Christmas at the corps (church) in Somercotes, and I was truly touched by the public’s generosity. Community well-wishers have come into the church and dropped off toys for children in the run-up to Christmas and people have also donated cash, so we can buy toys and food.
“We wanted to help families with gifts of food this year, to accompany the toys. Out of nowhere, Alderwasley Hall School in Belper called to say they had been fundraising for us. The timing was perfect as we were able to purchase enough food to make food parcels for each of the families known to us. The school’s call was invaluable and meant we could provide something that meant a lot to local Derbyshire families. Without our supporters and the generosity of children and adults we couldn’t do what we want to do.
“We have received donations from Hawthorn Care Home in Ilkeston, Walkers Plumbing and Locksmiths, a local Football Walking Club, Tesco, and individuals. We are still receiving donations, which are always welcome. We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all who donate. We will carry on collecting toys and food for children and families again this year, so do bear The Salvation Army in mind for your Christmas present list. We also give toiletries and warm clothes to Derby City Mission.”
Vicky has recently returned from serving overseas with The Salvation Army in Ghana where she has been for six years. She has served as a manager for a project called ‘House of Hope’ in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The project included a vocational training centre for young women, health centre and HIV service for the community. Young women are taught basic skills such as reading and writing, as well as how to look after their essential needs together with learning how to build a future sustainable business for themselves and their families. Vicky is now getting to know her new church family and the local people of Somercotes and surrounding areas.
Her vision is to extend The Salvation Army church in Somercotes as a place where people will feel welcome and part of their community. She said: “Churches are often at the heart of communities and bring people together. We have a diverse group of people that come to our corps, from all walks of life and across different ages. We want people to make our church a hub for the community to meet. We warmly welcome people from the local area on Mondays at 2pm and hold our coffee morning at 9.30am on Tuesdays. We look forward to seeing you there.”The church meets at 3pm on a Sunday.