6,700 Norfolk children and adults helped this Christmas
published on 21 Dec 2020
The Salvation Army has shared Christmas joy with 6,766 vulnerable people across Norfolk, including 3,810 children who will have presents to open on Christmas Day.
The church and charity’s Toys & Tins Appeal has seen a 27 per cent increase in referrals for vulnerable children from social services, schools and support groups as well as struggling parents contacting The Salvation Army direct.* The final number of people supported will continue to rise as requests for help come in right up until Christmas Day.
Each family referred to The Salvation Army receives a Christmas hamper of food and each child receives on average five gifts, including one or two larger items and stocking fillers. Generous donations from the public have enabled volunteers to sort, pack and deliver approximately 19,000 gifts.
With lockdown restrictions in November and continued social distancing making it difficult for the public to drop-off donations, Norfolk families, workplaces, faith groups and community leaders have rallied to support in new ways. More than £14,000 was donated via a JustGiving page and 650 presents via an Amazon Wish List.
Major Derek Jones, leader of The Salvation Army in Norfolk, said: “We’re so grateful for the generosity of the public that has helped us meet the increase in demand for support for families who have been struggling because of the pandemic.”
The Salvation Army has 15 churches across Norfolk that offer safe, welcoming spaces where people in desperate need can find a listening ear, compassionate support and practical help throughout the year. Many have been helping struggling families during the pandemic with food parcels and utility top ups.
Major Derek Jones explained: “Without the Toys & Tins Appeal, the families we have been supporting would have had to make difficult decisions between buying food, paying household bills and affording the cost of Christmas. Many are on furlough, have low income, have been made redundant or cannot work because of poor health.
"As a church, the Christmas story and birth of Jesus inspires us to bring light into dark situations. In a year when there has been a lot of sadness, this appeal has brought joy and hope to thousands of people across our county."
Major Derek Jones added: “We knew the pandemic would mean this year’s appeal would have to look different, but our dedicated volunteers and loyal supporters have gone above and beyond to make sure children have presents to open on Christmas Day and families can enjoy some festive food.”
Volunteers started packing food boxes and presents two weeks earlier than usual, as social distancing measures required them to work in smaller groups. Teenagers and young adults from Salvation Army churches also stepped in to cover evening shifts as many older volunteers continue to shield.