Jo Thorne is the chair of trustees for emergency response charity, Alive UK. Here she explains how the charity is hoping to deliver gifts to more than 100 local children this Christmas.
If you can spare a new toy or a chocolate selection box in the run-up to Christmas, get yourself down to Chantry Place in Norwich. Alive UK, a charity which aims to reduce food poverty and provide emergency support for people in crisis in Norfolk, is asking people who would like to support the appeal to make donations, including of wrapping paper and sticky tape, at its collection point on the lower ground floor of Chantry Place, near House of Fraser, before December 17, 2021.
Jo, who is also the pastor of Alive Church, comments: ‘It is such a heart-breaking situation this year, with families, through no fault of their own, not being able to afford even a small gift for their child. The choice of choosing between food, heating or a present is a decision affecting many families this year. As a charity, our funds are limited, which is why we are launching this appeal to help local families to keep Christmas as magical as they can for children. The majority of people we support are just everyday people, like those who are struggling with furlough ending, who each have a painful story to tell, and our challenge is that we can only support and help people who we know of and who contact us. Please, if anyone is struggling, we urge them to get in touch with us to see if we can help. We hope to support over 100 children with our appeal who would otherwise not get a present this Christmas.’
The charity will wrap and deliver the gifts to the parents of children across the county, so that they can choose how and when to deliver the gift. They will be given to families, along with food hampers, to those in desperate need in Norfolk who can’t afford a gift for their child this Christmas.
One local mum of two, who is supported by Alive but wishes to remain anonymous, says: ‘Alive has literally saved my life. A few summers ago, I had to choose to send my children to a relative over the holidays because I couldn’t afford the extra food and activities. I cried day and night out of guilt. Last Christmas Santa and a bunch of singing elves arrived with gifts for the children. While they were distracted, Jo handed me toys, wrapping paper and tags so I could give the children gifts from me. You can’t imagine how whole that made me feel.’
Toys can be donated for any age from babies through to gifts for 18-year-olds, with the charity advising that they often lack donations for teenagers.
Donations should be dropped-off inside the Alive UK at Chantry Place in the Perspex boxes. Alive UK, supported by Alive Church, is a registered charity.
Featured image: Jono and Jo Thorne at Alive, Chantry Place