Kate Subritzky and her Christmas In Need team want everybody in the city to wake up with a gift. In a wonderful show of Christmas spirit, they are giving out thousands of presents to people in need with the help of the public.
“We’ll distribute, at a rough guess, more than 2,000 presents,” Kate says. “The public have been incredibly responsive. A lot of people have said that they’d always wanted to be involved in something like this, but hadn’t known how to go about doing it.”
This year’s huge distribution has been organised after she tried something similar last Christmas. “Last year, it all happened in four days,” Kate explains. “It was on a much smaller scale. This year it has absolutely exploded. We have got in touch with refuges, shelters and got lists of people who need help.”
The four ladies who organise the team have been working with Independent Domestic Abuse Services, York District Hospital, the Family Information Service, the Arc Light centre which supports the homeless, The Besom and Ordnance Lane hostel.
That has helped to ensure that they can help individuals who are fleeing from domestic violence, impoverished, homeless, elderly, or have been nominated to the charity.
They aim to give every adult a small gift and a stocking with a few presents for the children, along with warm clothes, blankets and food baskets where needed. All gifts have been donated by the public and are being distributed by volunteers, who will wear Santa suits on Christmas Eve. Monetary donations are also accepted and these are spent on gifts.
One of the ways in which the charity received gifts to donate was by setting up a Santa’s grotto and real-life reindeers. Families could turn up and stroke a reindeer and then leave a gift in the bag for distribution.
“We’ve been working at it solidly for six weeks, having meetings with people,” Kate says. “The group of volunteers is now at 360. We have done deliveries this week and will do more next week.
“It’s going to take a long time to deliver the gifts. We’ve already spend several hours on it and there will be several more.
“There is a big wrapping event on the 23rd where the public can help. We will be holding the event from 4pm until 7pm at my house. We have got masses of toys, which is amazing to see.
“We are short on gifts for men and we are also appealing for food, as we want to provide Christmas meals to people who wouldn’t have one otherwise.”