Santa came early for 16 families in Leeds who otherwise would have gone without the usual pudding and presents many of us enjoy on Christmas Day.
The Christians Against Poverty (CAP) group, which covers south and east Leeds, distributed hampers of food - complete with a present to open on Christmas Day - after being inundated with donations.
It came following a Yorkshire Evening Post article in September which highlighted an increasing number of cases of people in the city getting into debt just so they can pay for and provide a Christmas for their families.
The organisation was then overwhelmed to receive donations of money and food which enabled them to put together a box of goodies for 16 of the most in need families that it is currently working with to help sort their financial situation.
This included £500 from Scholes Church, which in response to the article made CAP its chosen charity for 2017.
The Christians Against Poverty, Leeds East and South centre manager Malcolm Lamb said: “Due to the response following the article many expressed their desire to fund Christmas hampers for needy clients. That article really triggered something.”
Last month, and unbeknown to the recipients until the hampers were dropped off, a team of volunteers gathered at the CAP base at Bridge Community Church one evening to pack and wrap the hampers and presents.
They consisted of items such as chocolate, Christmas pudding, cheese biscuits, chutney, jam, breadsticks, biscuits, Christmas cake, hot chocolate and some store cupboard essentials like pasta and tinned goods.
There was also a present for the children in each family according to their age.
Mr Lamb added: “It is just something to say ‘you have got something for Christmas’. We had heard from people that they wouldn’t have a Christmas because they had no money so it is a good feeling to know we have made a difference.”
One shocked recipient said: “I don’t really know what to say, I am really touched, bursting with pride. Thanks to CAP for helping and supporting us over the last couple of months. This will be really appreciated, I can’t believe it.”
DONATIONS FUND DEBT WORK
The christians Against Poverty organisation receives no government cash and is reliant on funding donations.
Individual donations make up 68 per cent of the organisation’s funding on a national level, 18 per cent comes from church donations and the rest is made up of Fairshare & resources, charitable trusts and businesses.
There is also a Leeds North West Debt Centre which is run in partnership with South Parade Baptist Church but both services work with anyone in need, regardless of religious belief.