Each year, around about September or October, planning begins for the annual Christmas
Parcels distribution. Firstly, and most importantly, we contact social welfare organisations,
churches, and other groups who can identify recipients who would benefit from receiving
a parcel. In cooperation with the Southport Visiter and Midweek Visiter, we ask the
general public for nominations, and contributions! By October, the lists are coming
together, and we have the first estimates of the numbers of parcels and vouchers
we will need.
The recipients of Christmas Parcels are from just about every social group; elderly
and single people in poor circumstances, victims of domestic violence, one-parent
families who cannot easily make ends meet, institutions, and young people bridging
the gap between social care and the outside world. Some recipients are provided with
food parcels, which offer that something extra which marks the Christmas season;
some are provided with vouchers for clothing or essential domestic supplies, and
recipients with children may well find the odd toy or two included as well!
Making Christmas Special
Once we have a good estimate of what we need, we start to collect the funds to pay
for it! Some of the costs are paid by the Rotary Club’s charity funds raised at various
events held throughout the year; some comes from trusts and legacies, some comes
directly from the public via the appeal which is made through the Visiter Group newspapers,
and some comes directly from donors such as the students of the KGV College, who
generously give time and supplies to help others less fortunate.
Then, in the early part of December, we start to collect everything together; foodstuffs
are ordered (and good deals negotiated - thank you ASDA!) and by mid December we
descend upon a suitable space - usually the Visiter office - and start packing.
Next comes distribution. Some parcels are delivered individually by Rotarians. Some
are delivered in bulk to social welfare groups. Whatever the destination, the transport
of several hundred quite large parcels around the area requires a deal of planning,
and we go to considerable lengths to make the distribution as efficient as possible.
The final stage is the one which most of those involved look forward to: a coffee
and a mince pie.