A Salford community Facebook group, run by two Tesco Extra employees, is making a difference this Christmas and making sure no child goes without, by setting up a Wishing Tree of gifts.
Tesco Extra Irlam receives a set budget each year to help groups and projects within their local community.
This budget covers everything, from raffle prizes for schools, as well as ‘clear to zero’ stock that is given to homeless shelters and food banks.
Laura Hill is a manager at the superstore and runs the group with Tesco employee, Naomi Morris. They say, “we support as many groups as we can.
“Because we run the page ourselves, I think that’s why people see a little bit more of us.”
This Christmas, the store are making sure no child goes without a present – as well as supporting others who may be alone this festive season.
Laura got the idea for the Wishing Tree from a colleague down South, who used the initiative to support care homes in their local area.
She said: “In November, I asked social services if they’d like to be involved in the wishing tree, when they sent the list of names over, we were a bit overwhelmed.”
Naomi adds: “It seemed like a bit of a mammoth task and we were doubting ourselves if we’d be able to achieve it.”
However, achieve it they did. Within 12 hours of posting the Wishing Tree to the community page, all 87 tags were spoken for and the generous gifts provided by the Irlam and Cadishead community were collected yesterday.
According to the government website, out of the 12 million children living in England, just under 400,000 of them are in the social care system at any one time. More than 78,000 of these children are in care.
The two women had help collecting the gifts from local charities like Milk Aid, who launched this year, following lockdown and provides free food hampers to those in need.
Christmas is the busiest time of the year for Laura and Naomi in their community roles. As well as the wishing tree, they are also supporting Animals in Distress and Dogs4Us with an in-store collection.
The wishing tree is also supporting two care homes in the area, these gifts will be delivered next week.
“The community back us through anything, it’s been amazing the response we’ve had. It’s been overwhelming, it just highlights the power of working together.”
After the difficult year we have had, it is important to remember those who may be spending Christmas alone, or missing a loved one for the first time.
This is another way the Laura and Naomi are supporting the community in the supermarket.
Handmade packs containing a poem entitled ‘Missing a loved one at Christmas’, a chocolate, and a tea light candle, can be collected from the customer service desk in the store.
Naomi said: “We are giving out small packs at Tesco Extra Irlam customer service desk and in the petrol station for those who need to feel supported and have their feelings recognised.”
The store in Irlam have collections throughout the year and not just at Christmas. So why not pay them a visit, or visit the Facebook page, and see how you can help a worthy cause.
“We hope we’re doing good and people are happy with what we’re doing and feel supported, we’re always looking for new ideas and trying to get creative.” They both added.