This is certainly true of the very generous people of Breconshire. So many people donated gifts that we were able to provide over 100 presents for children and 120 presents for adults and large amounts of food and clothing. And we still have the Reverse Advent Calendars coming in!
On Thursday 15t December 3 large cars were packed up from Ty Mawr store with presents, clothes, shoe boxes, reverse advent calendars, donations from Morrisons (thanks Virginia for coordinating this) and PGL (thanks Steve) and a bicycle.
The car driven by Sean and Jean dropped off shoe boxes full of lovely little gifts and some beautifully wrapped presents from Talgarth and Bronllys primary schools for the Syrian children now living in Ystradgynlais and some clothes and a bicycle for one of the families. They picked up Maggie who was to play Santa to the families the following day and drove on to Unity in Diversity (UID) for the Christmas Party with the Morrisons food donations and a TV.
Meanwhile, Lawrence, Margaret and Ailsa went straight to the party with 5 large bags of beautifully wrapped presents (thanks to Sue, Gez, Hilary, Lynne and Philip and the good people of Hay who joined in wrapping and writing messages at the Hay Fairtrade fair),
food from PGL (including boxes of bananas and oranges = very welcome, thanks!) some warm coats and jumpers and 10 pairs of donated football boots. Also some (3 more bags!) of lovely additional wrapped gifts from Katy, Stan and Florence and Margaret were squeezed into spaces and onto knees.
Trevor arrived at UID to meet with Tom from Swansea Bay Asylum seekers Support Group (SBASSG) with a car full of children’s wrapped presents and loads of donated children’s clothes and toys. Tom felt that there was too much (he didn’t initially notice Lawrence putting additional boxes into his car) but with the arrival of Maria was persuaded that all the donations were going to be of use and any that didn’t get snapped up would be sorted out by her. Once Tom’s car was full, Maria’s car was overloaded (didn’t she really need a seat to drive in?) and we went to the party. Lynne and Philip arrived too and we all tried to help set the tables and make drinks and chat.
The tables were decorated with crackers (several people had not seen these before and as Sean said ‘why would they?’) and fruit and as people started arriving they were surprised to see so many people around. Members of the local Swansea community called into the party as well and with some instruments arriving, there was music and singing and jollity. It was lovely to see people who have become friends over the last year – to celebrate some having their papers, to commiserate with others at a refusal, to see some having their first experience of a British Christmas and to remember friends who have moved on or been moved or were working!
The party food disappeared quickly and then Santa arrived. O was so pleased to see him and followed round excitedly blowing his little trumpet. Santa gave the children presents, the adult’s chocolate and then the gifts we had provided. The umbrellas were especially admired- very few people saved their gifts for later!
Then the Morrisons food and clothes were brought out and rapidly disappeared into bags, boxes and pockets or were worn. E found a great new coat which he modelled for us.
Maria and Phil attended the party at the SBASSG drop in, where they usually volunteer, on the 16th and were able to take a large box of goodies for an isolated family as well.
So all in all a wonderful time of giving and receiving and joy. And most of the Reverse advent Calendars are still to be distributed just after Christmas! We picked up a large collection from Llyn Safaddan Cubs , staff at Brecon Beacons National Park and also from Ams at the Old Temp Fish bar in Ystrad which will go with the messages of welcome from the paper angels written during the Christmas tree festival.
Thanks to everyone who donated so generously.