Children give Santa presents for less fortunate families at reverse grotto in Gosport

KIND-HEARTED children have given hundreds of presents to Father Christmas, which will go to struggling families.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 12:00 pm

At St Matthew's Church in Wych Lane, Gosport, Acts of Kindness organised a Reverse Santa's Grotto on Saturday.

Here, instead of getting presents from Father Christmas, children left gifts to be given to those less fortunate.

It comes as part of a huge festive push from the charity, which has supported thousands of households since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

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Ruby and Rex Stanbridge with Father Christmas after dropping their gifts off. Picture: Keith Woodland (121220-2)

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Sinah and Sebastian Cole, seven and three from Hayling Island, were among those who left gifts.

Games, nail varnish and more were donated by the youngsters, who made mum Sam very proud.

She said: ‘It’s hard to find places for kids to see Santa this year, but this is brilliant.

Marie and Olivia Vincent with Father Christmas and Mrs Claus, aka. Julie Edwards, vice-president of the Gosport Rotary Club Picture: Keith Woodland (121220-12)

‘Both of them absolutely got the message and I’m really proud of them for that.

‘There are families who have really struggled this year and it’s important to help them out.’

In total, more than 500 gifts have been left with Father Christmas since the start of the week, when Acts of Kindness launched its festive appeal.

The group has also been running a food bank this year, and is ramping up its support in the build-up to Christmas.

Organiser Kerry Snuggs said: ‘We’ve had to really step up our operations this year – it’s been really tough for so many people and we needed to be there for them.

‘Despite the situation, the community has really got stronger with everyone looking out for one another.

‘It’s been a real multi-agency operation this year, with rotarians, the Women’s Institute and so many more helping us to deliver more than 16,800 meals since March.’

Santa himself was from the Rotary Club of Gosport, with other volunteers pitching in to wrap the presents.

Kerry said the sight of so many children leaving gifts for those less fortunate filled her heart with joy.

She said: ‘This event has delivered a really important message about kindness. To teach our children about this goes such a long way.

‘Normally they would expect something from Santa, but they’ve all been so excited to give him something and that has been wonderful to see.’

The group is currently in need of festive snacks, buscuits and coffee for the food bank.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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