Annual care leavers Christmas dinner needs donations for socially-distanced celebration
- Credit: Andrew Leo Photography
A Hackney project wants to make an annual care leavers Christmas dinner extra special by gifting away donated laptops and tablets.
For the last five years, Hackney Christmas Dinner has brought together 50 young care leavers for a Christmas day celebration, providing them with presents, food and company on the holiday.
This year however, the project’s volunteers have had to think of a more socially-distanced way of celebrating the day due to the coroanvirus crisis. They wish to provide care leavers with laptops or tablets and data packages so they can stay connected over the festive period.
“Christmas was the most difficult time of the year, because it was a reminder of everything I’d never had,” said poet and Hackney resident Lemn Sissay MBE, who set up the project having grown up in the care system.
“The Christmas Dinner is about our community coming together to help a young person have a wonderful day and a memory that they can look back at the next year and know that it was a good memory. We offer warmth, laughter and joy,” added Lemn.
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The event is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers who begin planning in early autumn.
This year organisers have been met with the added challenge of bringing people together at a distance, deciding to deliver each care leaver with an individual gift and food package to be enjoyed along with activities and personal connections online.
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Naomi DePeza, who is responsible for the Hackney Christmas Dinner theme and design, told the Gazette: “The important switch this year has to be moving the focus away from the physical decorations and instead creating an equally beautiful ‘event’ in a box – to be delivered to every care leaver.
“The vision is of each person opening up their box on Christmas Day and being thrilled by the personal touch of exquisitely chosen gifts wrapped beautifully for them to enjoy.”
Volunteers are asking that businesses donate new laptops,tablets and wifi dongles or for residents to support their fundraiser.
The initiative is also in need of drivers, fundraisers, gift experts and entertainers. To help out contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate click here .
Follow Hackney Christmas Dinner @HackneyChristmasDinner on Facebook and @xmas_dinner on twitter.