Before Christmas, 52 Lives put out a request for some Christmas gifts for children at a school in Feltham, London.
There is a teacher called Hannah who works in one of the local schools in Feltham, where many children are living below the poverty line. Some of the children at her school simply weren't going to get any Christmas presents at all.
This lovely teacher was trying to collect as many Christmas presents as she could, so she could give them to the parents to give to their children. It was a beautiful thing, and what Christmas is really all about ... spreading love and kindness, and doing something magical for some children who need it most.
I was so inspired by what she's doing and wanted to help her get as many gifts as possible.
The response was absolutely staggering. I was hoping to be able to take a dozen or so gifts to the school, but thanks to the amazing 52 Lives supporters, I had to borrow a friends 4WD because they wouldn't all fit in my car. Every single day that week I arrived home to packages piled on my doorstep, and delivery vans were constantly blocking my road.
Some people sent hundreds of pounds worth of presents, some sent a small book....it all made a very big difference - both to the parents who we able to 'shop' at the school to choose a gift, and for the children who had presents to wake up to on Christmas morning.
Buying school shoes is also an ongoing problem for many families at this school. Many kind people also donated second hand pairs of shoes, and thanks to the very generous Suzi, Joanne Kennedy and other donors, we were able to give more than £150 in Clarks shoe vouchers. And a wonderful woman called Lucille, whose children go to a nearby school, went even further. She is arranging for her children's school to set up a regular 'shoe donation' project to help families in the Feltham school. The two schools are so close geographically, and now they will be linked by this brilliant project.
Now, I'm going to attempt to list all the kind people who donated toys, books and shoes, but there were so many I'm sure I'm going to accidentally leave some people out. I'm really sorry if I have.
A big thank you to:
The wonderful team at Play Inside Out toy shop in Teddington, for donating some toys for the children.
As well, as the following individuals:
Kirsty MacInnes, Jacqueline Shillingford, Jacqui Kitcher, Maureen, Lisa ,Brenda, Fiona, Victoria, Joanna and Stephen Riding, Kate, Kieu Tu, Sarah, Mel Alsford, Nina Raben, Gwyneth Rees (who donated some of her beautiful children's books), Karen Knoll, Charlotte Crinnion, Tilly, Suzi, Joanne...and anyone else I've forgotten to mention.
Thank you all so much! What an amazing week.