Gentoo volunteers have been giving the best gift of all this Christmas – their time. Over the past week they have been delivering gifts and toys to those who need it most.
Every year, Gentoo delivers gifts, toys and food to local charities and customers who are struggling financially.
Donations were made by Gentoo, Barclay’s and Northern Gas Networks as well as the local community. Because of their generosity more than 250 adults and children received either toys, gifts sets, selection boxes, toiletries or clothing. This year Gentoo had an overwhelming response from staff, who referred a number of customers who are socially isolated or financially vulnerable who, otherwise would not have received a gift this year.
Additional gifts were also delivered to local charities including Together for Children, Ashkirk Homeless Household Project, Animal Krackers, Lewis Crescent Young Parents Project, Centrepoint, Space4 Community Project, the YMCA and St.Benedict’s Hospice, while food was delivered to Bethany City Church.
Alyson Conroy, Children’s Social Worker, Together for Children Sunderland said: “This initiative really helps take away a lot of stress and worry for families who find themselves in financial difficulty at this time of year. Finances can be a very big worry for a lot of the families we ork with and they are always very grateful. They know the gifts will put a smile on their children’s faces.”
Maureen Robins, Child and Family Worker, Together for Children Sunderland added: “Our families are the people who are suffering crisis, financial hardship, and trauma. These situations can often leave them feeling ‘forgotten about’ especially at this time of year. As family workers we feel reassured that the children and families suffering hardship this year are definitely going to be visited by Santa this year.”
One of the recipients of the gifts said: “I feel so overwhelmed, thank you very much for the Christmas gifts for my two daughters. I have been really worried over the last few months and was dreading Christmas but feel a lot better now.”
Michelle Meldrum, Executive Director, Gentoo said: “The generosity of the people of Sunderland has been amazing. In increasing times of austerity these initiatives have never been so important. Christmas is a time for giving and thinking of others and these donations have helped put a smile on the face of hundreds of people. A huge thank you to our staff, corporate partners and the local community for helping us to make a difference this Christmas.”
Photo: L-R: Ann Donkin (Gentoo Volunteer), Gary Pitt (Gentoo Volunteer), Alison Humphrey (Barclays), Gary Wallace (Gentoo Volunteer) and Alyson Conroy (Together for Children Sunderland).