The Christmas box appeal is back for 2019! Once again, our supporters will be able to bless some of the poorest children and families in Southeast Europe, many of whom struggle to put food on the table, let alone afford Christmas presents.
There’s no doubt that Christmas boxes make an immediate impact on both the giver and recipient, but do claims made about the positive long-term impact of giving these presents have any substance? Whilst for many recipients, this simple act of generosity is very much appreciated, and is often much more impactful than you might think, it is not unreasonable ask how the organisations that run these appeals make the most of the opportunities afforded by having thousands of presents to give out.
Teodora Koleva, director of FSCI Bulgaria, is unequivocal. “For us, the reasons for running such an appeal are clear: the presents bring a huge amount of joy to the children and families that receive them, but they also help us to do much more. Our main social impact projects work with state care leavers and very poor Roma communities. Our Christmas box project allows us to reach both these groups, serving as a calling card for our team and giving us access to institutions and communities which are closed to most people. These introductions are really important. Our Christmas box appeal has led us to work with many young people and has been instrumental in a number of community projects”.
The impact of the appeal in the UK shouldn’t be underestimated, believes FSCI Operations Manager Rich Parsons. “I think it’s easy to discount the simple act of putting together a box of basic items and giving it with no strings attached to a complete stranger, but it captures the imagination of children and adults alike and speaks to us powerfully about families, belonging and community”.
Rich adds, “We hope lots of people will want to get involved again this year. The donated presents spread a great deal of joy and send a really encouraging message to people who live in extreme poverty. Many of the people we visit live with the risk of exploitation by people-traffickers and other criminals. For them to receive a Christmas box shows that there are people who want to bless them, not use them”.
If you would like to find out how you, your business, church, community group or school could get involved in FSCI’s 2019 Christmas Box Appeal, go to www.fscinet.org/christmas-box or get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.