On Christmas Day we celebrate the greatest gift ever, the birth of Jesus Christ. We give gifts to others, symbolic of the presentation of the gifts by the wise men to the Christ Child. We can’t give him material birthday presents so instead we give gifts to each other in celebration of the day.
Do you remember the joy and excitement of receiving gifts as a child?
Do you enjoy seeing the pleasure of your, or other people’s, children as they open their presents?
Well now think about the anguish of those who are currently struggling financially, or in other ways, who don’t know how survive from week to week, yet alone find the money to buy presents for their children.
That is where SCRATCH (Southampton City and Region Action to Combat Hardship) and Christmas Complete come in! Each year SCRATCH collects donations of presents and gives them out to carers who would otherwise be unable to treat their children. Last Christmas they were able to provide parcels of presents to 2762 children and young people. That was an increase of 21% from the previous year. The level of support enabled SCRATCH to help all the families that were referred to them by their trusted referral agents.
So how can you help? By donating presents, volunteering or giving financial support.
As a church we are looking to collect donations of new games, puzzles, crafts, stationery, toys, soft toys, sweets and books, as well as toiletries for teenagers. You can bring these to The Ark, the Church Office or Sunday services up to the 3rd of December.
In addition, you might want to help by volunteering to sort the presents or donate financially to buy items in shortage areas. To do this visit the Scratch website or donate here.
The appreciation of recipient families is shown by some of the e-mails received by SCRATCH:
“I am overwhelmed by the amazing gifts and the generosity & kindness shown to my children, and myself. I can't even begin to thank you enough. The gifts were perfect. Beautifully bundled and even included paper and everything required to make them extra special. Thank you for making a difficult time so much easier and for putting a huge smile on our faces. I am forever grateful.”
“Thank you to everyone at SCRATCH for putting together such a wonderful selection of Christmas presents for the family that I'm currently supporting. All four children were delighted with their gifts and it meant a lot to their mother, as they were obviously all very aware of things their school friends were getting and she was in no position to buy any presents for them herself.”
So let’s look forward with expectancy to Christmas morning and the wonderful gift of the Christ Child we receive, knowing that many children in Southampton will also wake up to gifts thanks to the love of Jesus we have shown.