The Salford Christmas Gift Appeal hopes to ensure that no child is waking up on Christmas day without presents.
Samantha Jolly, 32, a teaching assistant at The New Broadwalk PRU, has set up the Salford Christmas Gift Appeal to ensure that no child is waking up on Christmas day without presents.
She said: “I’d like to know that I have made Christmas a little bit easier for families. I’ve had messages off parents saying for the first time in their life they don’t know how they’re going to afford Christmas this year.
“Working in a school I’ve seen how families can struggle, but it’s been more highlighted this year due to the pandemic.”
Being a single parent herself, Samantha knows how tough it is: “To see anyone in that position is heartbreaking. I don’t want any parent to feel like it’s their fault, it would be nice for parents to know that they have somewhere to go for support.
“I’ve always done some sort of toy appeal, but with a lot of people losing their jobs this year, I’d like to focus on, and know that I have benefited, my local area.”
The children do not need to know that the gifts come from elsewhere. Samanthas aim is to give the gifts to the parents discretely, so that the kids think they have come from them.
She said: “Everyone’s in an awful situation this year, I don’t want anybody to feel that they’ve let anyone down, it would be nice for them to just enjoy Christmas as a family.
“Kids have suffered so much this year, more than anyone. My son has gone from dancing and working towards representing England, to losing out on that. Some kids are in year six, which is the last year that Christmas is made extra magical, and perhaps the last year they believe in Santa.
“It is in excess of £25 to go to a socially distanced Santas Grotto, so many families rely on school fairs for their kids to meet Father Christmas for free. They won’t be able to have that magical experience, it’s awful, so this Christmas needs to be as amazing as possible for the kids this year.”
Samantha is looking for new, unused presents for ages 0- 16, all genders, and food donations too for food banks. She has also got a GoFundMe page where you can help the cause, and has made hampers for raffles out of her own pocket to raise money that she can then spend on more gifts for children.
She has got drop off points at Morrisons in Swinton, and you can also drop them off at her house.
Samantha said: “I’m loving the fact that everyone’s got their trees and decorations up early, but I feel like the Christmas spirit is lacking in the respect that there is no build-up to it this year, no parties, it can’t be helped though, we have just got to ride it out this year and do the best we can which is why it is so important to make a special Christmas at home with your family or support bubble.
“I don’t want anyone to wake up and it not feel like Christmas day.”
She continued: “We’ve had a good response, but we still have a long way to go.
Please help and come forward, and if anybody reads this article and are struggling themselves, please don’t hesitate to contact our Facebook page with the child’s age and gender. It is extremely confidential, the only person that will know they have contacted me is myself.
“I’m not stopping this appeal after Christmas, yes gifts are highlighted at Christmas, but why should children wake up on their birthday to no presents? I am going to continue this initiative and ask people to donate all year round, because the financial implications of this pandemic are not going to be over any time soon.”
The cutoff date for Christmas donations is December 11. For updates, follow Samanthas Facebook page.