A sigh of relief has gone round the ACEE office – it’s done for another year! 230 parcels safely delivered to older isolated people in the borough.

Twas the night before Christmas – well it was in September actually, that we started the rounds of local schools, giving assemblies about what it was like to get older and what we wanted to do for Christmas. We talk about how physically and mentally things can get harder as we get older and most importantly we talk about being lonely.  The children are asked to picture what it would be like to see no one all day, not to have any siblings to argue with and only the TV for company.  We then talk about how we want to give hampers to those on their own and how the children’s harvest donations will help us do that.

14 schools donated and the gifts were very generous. It brought tears to our eyes to see the little gift tags written by the children and to see the care that had gone into creating the parcels. Volunteer drivers drove to the schools, picked up the parcels and brought them back to the office. It began to look a little like a warehouse in the office!

We then have a team of volunteers that sort the food and batch it ready for packing. Epsom college students spent many an hour wrapping up pieces of cardboard to form the base of the hampers ( a boring job so thank you guys!). Finally we had 16 ‘elves’ wrapping the parcels with 18 drivers delivering them during the second week of December.

Each hamper contains some Christmas food, tea, coffee and chocolate. This year it also contained an invitation to a ‘Beat the January Blues’ lunch which is being held in conjunction with the Foodbank. The recipients have all been referred to us as being lonely at Christmas.

We have already had grateful calls from people, one said it made her smile just to look at it. The gesture may be small but it makes them feel thought of; not forgotten at a time of year when we are surrounded by friends and family.

Our thanks go to all the local schools, their staff and our volunteers who made this possible. 230 people thank you for it.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.