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Generous Liverpool people are being asked to make up an extra stocking to help out mums and dads who are struggling to buy even the smallest stocking fillers.
The idea came from Natalie Denny who is one of a group of women who run a foodbank drive every year to provide the basics to keep families fed over the Christmas holiday period.
She explains: “This year free school meals have been a big issue, so rightly there’s been a lot of discussion about the importance of children being fed.
“But when we started to plan our foodbank drive, I didn’t want us to forget the importance of kids having some magic, especially around Christmas, so that’s why I suggested doing stockings.
“What tends to happen is we focus on ‘we need to feed kids’ which obviously we do, but for me it should be about more than that. It’s about not just having what we need to live, but having what makes life worth living as well.
“That’s where the idea of Scouse Christmas Stockings came from – us wanting to provide something for kids who might not get a present or anything additional at Christmas because, through no fault of their own, their families can only afford the bare minimum.
“We want to give kids up to the age of 18 something that they can have, that’s just for them; something that’s fun and gives them that little bit of magic on Christmas morning.”
Natalie says anyone wanting to get involved can either make up their own personal stocking to drop off at a collection point, or they can go on an Amazon wish list to donate items which will then be packed by appeal volunteers.
“We’re still doing our foodbank drive but now we’re going to do Scouse Christmas Stockings alongside that,” says Natalie. “From the response we’ve already had, we know a lot of people want to put together the stockings themselves so it gives them a personal touch, but we want them to have the alternative of the wish list too.
“Then once we have all the donations in, we’re going to have a socially-distanced packing and sorting session where we will get Amazon wish list items and make up stockings.
“We’re planning to do that around December 11 so we can leave them untouched once they’re complete and allow a three-day quarantine period before we deliver them. That way we can make sure that everything is Covid safe.”
As well as getting some ideas for different age groups from the wish list, Natalie has created a list on her skywriters.co.uk website for anyone planning to create their own.
That includes things like small chocolate and sweets, colouring books and small puzzles, art materials, children’s books, costume jewellery and hair accessories, small toys, soaps and gift sets, perfumes and aftershaves.
“All we ask is that they mark up each stocking with the age range it’s for and please keep in mind that we do want to give them to young people up to 18 so we’re likely to need more for older children as well as little ones.”
Natalie and the other women in the team have liaised with youth clubs and foodbanks who have said they’ll be happy to take donations to distribute and, depending on the response, she says they’ll be asking for volunteers to help with packing and delivery in the days before Christmas.
“So far the reaction has been great,” she says, “People really love the idea because it’s something they can do while they’re doing their own shopping, or they can do it online, it doesn’t have to cost a lot and it will hopefully be a really lovely thing for so many kids on Christmas morning.”
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