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Christmas in the time of Covid

By January 25, 2022January 31st, 2022Christmas Box Appeal

FSCI supporters step up and bring joy to thousands once again.

Over 7,900 presents distributed to children in care institutions, Roma communities, poor rural schools and kindergartens throughout Bulgaria.

FSCI’s amazing volunteers did a fantastic job of checking and packing all the Christmas boxes in November. Thankfully, everybody was fine, despite worries about Covid. Many of our volunteers are regulars, who enjoy coming back to help time and again.  Susan has been giving her time to help supervise at the Christmas box depot for the last few years, and loves playing an active part in the appeal. “Being involved with the shoebox appeal means I get to spend time with generous, caring people, having fun and laughter as well as being humbled by the generosity of those who donate time and money into making up so many boxes. I volunteer because what we do in those few weeks in November is really special, when someone cares enough to give a gift to a stranger it brings a moment of pure joy, and being a small part of that is a blessing”.

We are also grateful to St Martin’s Church in Salisbury for providing us with a space to check and pack in.

You can see video of Christmas box distributions on FSCI’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Even though Covid was a concern, the Christmas box team were able to visit all kinds of places in Bulgaria and distribute the boxes without much in the way of restriction. And the results were moving.  “We were reminded once again of what it can mean to receive a present”, says Rich Parsons, FSCI’s Operations Manager. “The thing that sticks in my mind from all the places we visited, was seeing some children, perhaps six or seven years old, who were very reluctant, on the verge of tears even, to come and take a present from us as we visited a small church in a Roma community. We noted that the kids looked unhappy, and the church Pastor said, ‘they are not sure what is going on, they have never had Christmas presents before’. The older children there understood quickly what was happening, and the smiles were back soon enough. From young children to elderly folk the Christmas boxes brought out smiles wherever they were given out, which was humbling to see”.

We want to say thank you once more to everybody that was involved in making the 2021 Christmas Box Appeal such a success. It was encouraging to see so many people determined to join in and was a reminder that whilst we may have faced challenges these last couple of years, we can still pull together to be a blessing to those for whom life has always been a struggle, and will be long after the current crisis has passed. We are very grateful indeed, and we hope to see you again at the end of this year…