Wow what a week it’s been. We’ve had highs such as over 2000 donations and we are now at 7788, lots of very grateful organisations collecting toys and gifts for children and young people who would otherwise get NOTHING for Christmas. Sorted out some panto tickets for January with the lovely Deb from Brierley Hill Musical Theatre Company and processed some payments for Christmas parties/hot meals for children and young people. The elves have been wrapping grotto gifts, sorting and keeping me sane! Don’t know what I would do without my lovelies – Trevor, Jayne, Steve and Sarah – all volunteers with hearts of gold. Brett, Lee and Billy the Elf have kept my spirits up too, with piles of donations and cheerful news on how well they are doing this year.
Then there’s reality, the organisations coming in with lists of children and telling us that we are their last hope and without Operation Santa, the children they support would get NOTHING!!! There have been more lists of children than ever before this year, 35 at the last count and more in my in-box to sort. We’ve worked out way through the lists, booking in collection slots, but there are still over 300 outstanding and more to come.
These nominators are working with children and young people in dire need 365 days a year and know the grim reality of not just child poverty, but the horrific situation many of them are living with. We should all feel very lucky if we have somewhere warm and safe to live, and food to eat. We have had so many tears and heard so many tales of woe and these are just a drop in the ocean of living in Dudley borough for the less fortunate. The elves and I are hearing about the situation they are living in … victims of burglary when presents have been stolen, plus household items and even the Christmas Tree, children who have been victims of child sexual abuse, parents who have died and left them alone – with grandparents refusing to take them in and the children going into care. Imagine losing your Mum just before Christmas and she’s ALL you’ve got! A little girl whose Mum has to make the agonising decision that’s right for her daughter about life-changing surgery.
Don’t worry it’s not all doom and gloom and we know that Operation Santa makes a HUGE difference, so please help us to spread the word and support us to reach even more children and young people, for whom we are their only hope!