Leigh Park community shows the true meaning of Christmas at Big Wrap event
DISADVANTAGED children in Havant will be waking up to a Christmas stocking fullÂ of presents this festive seasonÂ thanks to the efforts of the local community.
An estimated 300 volunteers packed into St Francis Church in Leigh Park today to take part in the annual Big Wrap event.
Co-ordinated by the PO9 Food Bank, adults and children parcelled and and wrapped presents to bring Christmas cheer to 50 local families who have fallen on hard times.
OrganiserÂ Darren McKennaÂ said: '˜This is the third year we have run this event and it is the biggest yet. It is an initiative run by the community to support local people. The local school, medical surgery and social services have all been involved in identifying families in need of support.'
Star of the dayÂ was eight-year-old Nancy Wright whoÂ made and sold craft items to raiseÂ Â£350 to buy presents for the Big Wrap. Kind-hearted NancyÂ also used her Facebook page toÂ organiseÂ a reverse advent calendar whichÂ led to the donation of 600 food items to add to the presents.
'˜I have been raising money since the start of November. It will makeÂ me really happy to see other people smile when theyÂ get these presents,' said Nancy.
A number of people involved in the event haveÂ previously benefited from the work of the food bank or were due to receive some of the donated presents.
Lisa Horrell said: '˜I had my benefits stopped and I just didn't know how I was going to cope this Christmas. This will be a real help and means so much to me and my family. I wanted to get involved today so I could put something back and help other people in the community.'
Fellow volunteerÂ Karen RichardsonÂ added: '˜I know Darren as he has helped me in the past with support from the food bank. When he told me about the Big Wrap I just wanted to help out as it is such a worthwhile project.'
Many parentsÂ also brought along their children to help wrap the presents and to show them the true meaning of Christmas.
Louise Fisher said: '˜I am lucky enough to be able to give my kids what they need. I know people who are really struggling and wouldn't be able to afford presents for theirÂ childrenÂ at Christmas. I have brought along my daughter, Lulu, as I think it helps to teach children about the importance of giving at Christmas.'