It was never going to be a difficult decision to fulfil a grant application from Pelican Parcels, a local charity in Brighton & Hove, in support of their Christmas gifting campaign. The initiative aims to bring joy and relief to children and families facing the harsh realities of poverty, particularly in a city where 28.4% of those aged 16 and under are living in impoverished conditions, as reported by End Child Poverty.
Christmas can be a really tough time for families with the promise of ‘Santa’, so every year their ‘Secret Santa’ campaign supports families who simply can’t afford Christmas presents.
Founded in 2018 by Shelley and James Bennett, Pelican Parcels has become a lifeline for families in desperate need. The idea behind the charity sprouted from the couple's desire to give back by providing their gently used baby items to less fortunate families. Recognising the absence of such a service in their community, Shelley and James took matters into their own hands, establishing Pelican Parcels with a mission to recycle children's items and support disadvantaged families.
The annual Christmas gifting initiative is an embodiment of their commitment to making the holidays brighter for those facing the brunt of the cost of living crisis. This year alone, Pelican Parcels received a staggering 3,100 referrals for gift bags, a stark increase from the 980 referrals in 2021. These referrals come from various services dedicated to caring for families with children aged 0-12 years who find themselves in desperate need of support.
At the heart of Pelican Parcels' Christmas initiative is the concept of giving back the magic. The charity understands that the holidays are a time for joy and togetherness, especially for children. The Christmas bags distributed by Pelican Parcels include not only gifts, but also wrapping paper, sellotape, and tags. These thoughtful additions ensure that parents and caregivers can experience the dignity of wrapping and sharing a gift with their children, even when the financial strain seems insurmountable.
The local community has rallied behind the charity, with donations pouring in from up to 25 local companies. This collaborative effort demonstrates the power of community spirit and the collective desire to make a positive difference in the lives of those facing adversity.
As we celebrate the festive season, the story of Pelican Parcels and the support that we could supply reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas - compassion, generosity, and community. In the face of rising poverty rates and increased demand for support, Pelican Parcels continues to be a beacon of hope for families in Brighton & Hove, embodying the spirit of giving that defines this special time of year. The Focus Foundation's grant is not just a financial contribution; it is an investment in the magic of Christmas for those who need it most.
For more information on this incredible charity and to find out how you can support them, visit: www.pelicanparcels.org.uk
Pictured above, Shelly Bennet with one of her wonderful volunteers.
Note: The Charity is supported by 5 Trustees, 2 employed members of staff and 29 ad-hoc volunteers. A special mention to Lee Burton who has been instrumental in overseeing the Secret Santa campaign operation.