“We don’t want anyone to go without on Christmas Day,” the charity’s manager, Donna Pariser said. “It’s always nice to get a gift, but even nicer if it’s one you really want.”
She said this year’s most popular gifts have been footballs, lava lamps for teenagers and Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Spider-Man themed gifts.
Additionally, if a child has asked for a specific toy that the charity does not offer, it is doing its best to accommodate them.
“One of the requests we got through this year was a seven-year-old girl who really wanted a rainbow duvet cover, so we took some of the funds and made that happen,” Pariser said.
“If the child’s only getting one gift, we want it to be the one thing they’ve asked Father Christmas for.”
Stripey Stork - which is predominantly run by volunteers – has been providing essentials for young families with children under the age of 16 since its inception in 2013.
It has seen an increased influx of people needing its services since March 2020, when referrals increased “almost overnight”, Pariser said.
She said this year’s Christmas would be a “luxury some families just can’t afford”.
“Christmas is a joyful time that we all look forward to but this is not the case for the families that we’re helping. Many of them pretend it’s not happening,” she said.
One mother, who received presents from the charity to give to her two sons, said she felt “blown away” by its kindness.
“It has been a really tough year and that has made my week. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and your kindness,” she said.
To fund its Christmas campaign, named Santa Stork, the charity has set up a fundraiser which has raised more than £23,000 in donations.
“We’ve all heard of Santa’s naughty and nice list, so these children might feel that perhaps they’re not as deserving as their peers, which is very sad,” Pariser said.
“Sometimes we will hear ‘the older child understands and doesn’t believe in Father Christmas any more‘ - and you just think, this kid is 10 years old, they should get a gift.
“When they go back to school in January, all their buddies in class are talking about what they got for Christmas. By providing these gifts we are giving the children something to open on Christmas Day, and it means they can participate and be like everyone else.”
You can donate to Stripey Stork here.
Additional reporting by PA.
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