Sharing gifts with families

Jeanette White and Joanne Townson at St Monica's Church.
Jeanette White and Joanne Townson at St Monica's Church.
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BIG-hearted volunteers are giving up their time to bring Christmas cheer to some of Blackpool’s poorest families.

They have been packing hampers and writing Christmas cards which will be distributed to people suffering from hardship across the resort.

Care and Share, based at St Monica’s Church in Mereside, delivered 187 festive parcels last year – and expects to exceed that total this December.

Linda McEvilly, who founded the project 20 years ago, said: “We are a good neighbour project and we help people out all year, but at Christmas we make up hampers which we take to people living in hostels and to families referred to us by the Sure Start children’s centres.

“We put in sweets, biscuits, tinned food, fruit and a present for the children and the adults.

“There is also a hand-written card. We want to let them know someone cares about them, because many people will be living in very difficult circumstances this Christmas.

“We receive donations throughout the year, and as we sort them out we put some things aside especially for the Christmas parcels.”

Blackpool Mayor Coun Sylvia Taylor joined volunteers including Marie Greer, Jeanette White and Joanne Townson as they packed hampers.

Jeanette said: “We are helping people who are in a really bad situation, and you can see what a difference it makes to their lives.

“At Christmas sadly there are a lot more people in need. For example, women who are fleeing domestic violence and as a result are cut off from their families.

“So getting a present is really important for them.”

Carol Whiteside, manager of Mereside Children’s Centre, refers some of the families who receive the hampers.

She said: “If there is a family in crisis, we know we can go to Care and Share for help at any time of the year.

“At Christmas, we have a list of all the families we are working with and they make a hamper for us to hand out to them which includes some food and some nice gifts.”

Coun Taylor praised the work being done.

She said: “There are going to be a lot of happy people this Christmas, all down to these wonderful people.”

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