Christmas Kindness at Stonepillow
Christmas 2020 was going to be different for all of us, and with so many restrictions in place we had to rethink how we would create a Christmas to remember for our clients and so we launched our ‘Christmas Kindness’ campaign, sharing the variety of new ways people could support us.
With infection control measures in place, our usual ‘shoebox appeal’ was impacted and we had to decline the offers of physical donations, requesting instead for funds to be raised so that we could buy individual presents for our clients.
It was such a heart-warming success, we are going to use the same approach again next year. Although we are sad to say goodbye to the shoebox appeal, we look forward to making our clients feel special yet again.
210 bespoke gifts were bought, wrapped and delivered for Christmas Day by our support workers, and what a great time our clients and team had! Here is what they all had to say about Christmas 2020:
''It was super exciting to be able to go and buy the presents for our clients and wrap them up. One of our clients is environmentally conscious when it comes to paper, so I managed to find a writing tablet for him to draw his Anime onto. Considering he doesn’t enjoy the festive holidays, he was so grateful and cooked the Christmas dinner for everyone in the house!''
''He is a very big Dr Who fan, so we decided to get him a very special Dr Who pocket watch. When he opened this, he was overwhelmed, and said 'how did you know, how did you know I have always wanted one of these' he then went on to tell us that 'Stonepillow are my family, and I will never forget the thought and effort that has gone into choosing this gift'.''
''Learning to budget is an ongoing difficulty with many of our clients and learning to cook on a budget is something I have been working on with one of our clients, by throwing together whatever you have left, tins and fresh food, sometimes make the tastiest meals. So when I was walking around Robert Dyas and found a slow cooker I knew they would love it, they gave us an extra 10% off meaning we were able to buy a meditation book as well.''
Food donations were similarly affected due to coronavirus, and consequently we initiated our Festive Food JustGiving campaign, encouraging donations so that we could continue delivering fresh food, nourishment and essential provisions for the Festive period and harsh winter months.
''This was the first proper home for this man in many years, and he told us he would not be celebrating Christmas. After settling into his flat, he changed his mind, and a few days before Christmas asked for some food to make his own Christmas lunch so we bought food and dropped it round with some presents. Afterwards he told us how he is now looking forward to Christmas next year as he hopes he will have his children with him.''
''We had a really successful festive period at the hostel, with a traditional Christmas. Kicking off in the morning with a full English breakfast, later a Christmas dinner and on Boxing day, a cold buffet with hams, cheeses, pizzas, quiches and salads. During the evenings the clients played board games, and this seems to have really caught on. Scrabble is almost a daily feature here now, and a few clients spent the time producing artwork to brighten up the hostel, with the new materials bought for Christmas.''
''A couple of our clients were feeling really flat about spending Christmas alone, knowing that others would have family around them. We made sure they had plenty of food and they cooked themselves a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and said it was the best Christmas dinner they had had in years thanks to what had been delivered. The food lasted quite some time too!''
''One of our clients had spent most of his working life as a chef, and he said that as much as he was dreading it, but being able to cook himself a Christmas dinner made a depressing time much happier. The excitement really came from the cheese board and pate we included in the food parcel!''