While most children ask for toys for Christmas, letters from less privileged children have revealed that they’re asking Santa for simpler gifts, such as ‘hot meals’ and ‘soft towels’.
A volunteer group in Queensland, Australia, are running an appeal called ‘Be an Elf’, in which they receive Christmas Santa requests from children in troubled families and try to make them come true.
Last year the group helped around 700 children’s Christmas wishes came true, according to the Against Drugs charity founder, June Hintz.
Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, she recalled some of the most heartbreaking requests she’s ever read, like one unnamed 12-year-old whose Christmas wish was for ‘dad not to hurt mummy’.
One of the children’s letters
And although that particular request might be a hard one for a stranger to help with, the same child also asked for things everyone can help with – a guinea pig to to love, a school bag and school books.
Another child named Jason asked for a lunch bag and drink bottle, while admiting he’s been ‘a little bit naughty’. Erin just wants ‘soft towels that smell good’, white socks and colouring materials.
One of the most wrenching requests from last year’s campaign was 10-year-old William’s wish for a meal of potato bake and pork chops. When the volunteer went to deliver his meal, it was found that he was living in a car.
However, in a heartwarming twist, proving the campaign does have many positive effects on the children involved, the same volunteer who discovered William’s living situation is now his adopted nana.
Mrs Hintz added that many of the requests were things that most children take for granted. ‘Many of the children do not attend school regularly because they do not have school shoes,’ she said. ‘Others do not have reading glasses as they have lost them and their parents can’t afford to replace them.’
A high number of the kids involved in the campaign come very troubled families. In just one class at a school helped by the appeal in 2014, an astounding 13 children had parents in prison, and five of them were mothers.
This year the group are aiming to extend the Be An Elf campaign and double last year’s numbers. So far they’ve had a great response but they still need help.
‘There are some good people out there. It’s the thing that always gives me hope. And these children still have hope’, Mrs Hintz told Gold Coast Bulletin.
If you wish to join the Be An Elf campaign, visit the Mother Against Drugs Christmas Appeal page on Facebook to find out more.