2020 is perhaps a year that many people will be glad to see the back of. Without a doubt, it has been one of the most challenging years I have ever experienced.
So many people have faced immeasurable loss, isolation, loneliness and sadness. We have had to adapt to new systems and roles, learning quickly how to navigate online technology, whilst multi-tasking as a teacher to our children and performing our jobs from home.
You wouldn’t be surprised then, if people became quite inward thinking, absorbed in their own challenges, trying to keep things going.
But actually, this year, Home-Start has seen the most incredible acts of kindness and thoughtfulness from the local community towards others. One example is the employees at Johnson Matthey, who have once again purchased gifts for the children of the families that Home-Start is supporting.
In the past, Johnson Matthey employees have left gifts that they have purchased around the large Christmas tree in their reception area, all beautifully wrapped and labelled for the intended recipient.
With Covid restrictions in place towards the end of 2020, careful thought was given as to how this gesture could continue to take place, meeting social distancing and other restrictions to keep everyone safe. We provided Johnson Matthey’s employees with a list of the gender and age of the children we support so they could purchase an age-appropriate gift online and have it sent to the office.
Throughout November and December, the Home-Start office became a regular delivery drop off for parcel couriers. At times it felt like a proper Santa’s grotto, as we wrapped and labelled the lovely gifts. Unlike other years it was exciting to see what toys and gifts had been purchased, knowing that there would be many delighted faces when the presents were opened.
Again the generosity of the Johnson Matthey employees was incredible. We even had donations to help with the cost of wrapping and delivery of the gifts!
We have had lots of lovely feedback from our families already, saying how pleased the children have been with the gifts they received.
It really is a special event to be part of and Home-Start gets the best job by playing Santa and delivering the gifts.
So we want to say a tremendous ‘Thank You’ to everyone at Johnson Matthey who helped to make this ‘virtual’ giving tree possible this year. In such difficult times, it is fantastic to know that we are part of such a caring, kind community.
We sent the Johnson Matthey employees a Thank You video which we’d like to share with you also: