How Hayley Kay and her friends donate food to needy families over Christmas, rather than doing a Secret Santa

Hayley Kay and her friends donating food to needy families
Hayley Kay and her friends donating food to needy families

I’m not a huge fan of wishing time away.

However, I’m writing this column in the car park of my son’s gymnastics club waiting for him to finish his lesson and the reason I’m writing this now is that we’re 48 hours or so away from our half term ‘mini break’ and it can’t come soon enough.

I’m the sort of person who loves routine, I think I enjoy the predictability of knowing what we’re doing and when, but these last few weeks have been crazy even by my own standards.

I’m not complaining though, I’m a freelancer which means I’m self-employed, no holiday pay, company pension or sick pay, but I love the flexibility of managing my own time.

The upshot is that I’m actually pretty rundown and in dire need of some rest and relaxation, so we’re off to The Lake District for a few days.

I’m not sure how much relaxing we’ll do with an energetic three year old in tow, but we’ll give it a shot.

I’ve also been busy preparing for our annual food bank collection.

Back in 2014 my friends and I were discussing doing a ‘Secret Santa’ for each other’s Christmas gifts and decided on a £25 limit. The conversation quickly turned to how expensive the festive season is and maybe we should do something for other families in the area.

We scrapped the idea of buying each other gifts and decided to spend the £25 on food and treats for families who are most in need.

After we’d shopped we laid the food out on my friend’s dining room table and were pretty amazed how much we’d managed to collect between us. We shared the picture on Facebook and were taken by surprise at the positive response we received.

The following year we decided to move away from my friend’s dining table and see if we could get other local people to do the same and hold their own collections, with friends, at their children’s school or in their workplace and hired a space in the town centre so people could drop off what they’d collected, in plenty of time to be distributed to local families before Christmas.

Fast forward to now and ‘Locals Helping Locals at Christmas’ is firmly established on the Fylde Coast calendar and we’re in the final planning stages of this years’ event. We’ve managed to rope in local businesses to support us over the years and we’re hoping to make this year our most successful collection ever. It’s a sorry fact that more and more families across Lancashire now rely on food banks and I think that anything we can do to relieve the financial strain for families at Christmas time has to be a good thing. The reason I wanted to write about it in my column is to ask you to consider making a small donation to your local food bank, that small act of kindness could make a difference to someone’s Christmas this year.