Community Kindness-Thanet is appealing for help to fulfil its annual mission to provide gifts to hundreds of isle children and adults who might otherwise completely miss out on any Christmas joy.
The scheme provides vulnerable families and individuals in Thanet with gifts on occasions including Christmas.
Community Kindness Thanet, was set up by Thanet resident Sonia Knight in November 2020. Initially created to help just for the festive season it soon expanded to provide gifts throughout the year, from birthdays to Easter and more.
The scheme operates through referrals from schools, social services and Early Help workers to make sure those most in need are helped.
Community Kindness Thanet is ensuring that each child referred will receive five new gifts, including a selection box and a book, there will also be a small adult gift and a tub of chocolates for families to share.
Sonia, who lives in Margate with husband Doug, has a 20-year background in supporting vulnerable adults and children.
Last year the organisation sent out 3,449 gifts to 879 people at risk of missing out on a visit from Santa.
But this year the cost of living crisis means demand is even higher but donations have dropped.
Sonia, 46, said: “There are over 10,000 children living in poverty across Thanet. Community Kindness – Thanet will always do what we can to meet the needs of those referred to us but I am just one person, operating from my home with no access to funding and working around my full time job.
“Last Christmas alone we sent out 3,449 gifts to 879 people at risk of missing out on a visit from Santa.
“This year, the cost of living crisis is even worse. The number of referrals we receive are up and our donations are quite significantly down.
“In a single day alone last week, we received referrals for around 200 people across Thanet, with 30 families being referred by just one school. Numbers like that make my eyes water and my heart sink. There should not be that many vulnerable people in one small area of the UK, but the truth is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“I have no way of currently knowing exactly how many referrals we will end up with this Christmas and, if this is anything to go by, I’m not sure I want to think about it. What I do know however, is that we cannot do any of it without the support of the incredible community.
“As many people will already know, we only support families and individuals who have been referred to us by professional agencies. For the past three years, we have given every child between 4-6 gifts (including a new book and a selection pack), a small gift for the adults in the home and a tub of chocolates for the family to enjoy together. This is something I would dearly love to happen again this year, but we really do need some help to achieve this.
“Taking into account all physical and monetary donations currently received, I estimate that we are somewhere in the region of 120 tubs of chocolates and 450 selection packs short of the amount we will eventually need. That’s without even thinking about toys, gifts and books.
“We would dearly love to fulfil all the referrals we receive, but we need help to do this. “Please take a look at our Amazon wish list which has items for all budgets, or add a donation to our just giving or PayPal account to help us purchase the hundreds of selection packs needed to ensure every child has something nice to eat on Christmas Day.”
Every donation goes directly to providing for those referred with the only extra cost being JustGiving fees. Sonia does not take a wage and pays for extras such as raffle tickets from her own pocket.
She said: “Everything goes to supporting people in our community.”
Donations of new toys and gifts can be made, with sensory toys especially welcome.
How to help
Purchasing an item from the Amazon wish list
Make a donation to the crowdfunder or via PayPal
Donation Collection Points
That Furniture Shop – Birchington
The Classroom – Westgate until December 3rd
Taddy’s Barn – Cliftonville
The Hooden Horse – Westwood Cross
Tesco – Westwood Cross
Acol Residents Association
Ramsgate – Thanet Vape Company
Margate Football Club
Mocketts Wood Dr surgery – Broadstairs
Asda – Westwood Cross
This epic masterpiece of Charles Dickens in the form of Gonzo with Rizzo the rat has been created by cake sculptor Nicola Bradshaw of Little Brown Fairy Cake in Station Road.
A raffle is being held – tickets available in Little Brown Fairy Cake – to raise funds for Community Kindness – Thanet with a lucky winner taking home the Rizzo fruitcake creation.