The food gift vouchers purchased with the funds from the Good Holiday Spirit collection have been delivered to low-income families with children across Finland. The importance of the holiday collection to families is highlighted in financially challenging times.
The €70 food vouchers bought with the donations to the Good Holiday Spirit collection have now been distributed, bringing joy to the Christmas of low-income families with children. This year, the collection organised by the Red Cross and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare in cooperation with Yle helped 22,000 low-income families around Finland.
Experiences of inequality become even stronger during Christmas. As the financial situation grows harder, more and more parents find it difficult to provide their children with the presents or festive foods to bring them the spirit of Christmas.
“Here at the Red Cross, parents’ worries are reflected in the increased number of requests for help. In food aid, for example, we can clearly see that these hard times are especially tough on families with single parents or unemployment. More and more often, parents in temporary or part-time work are also finding it difficult to cope with everyday expenses,” says Maaret Alaranta, coordinator of social well-being at the Finnish Red Cross.
Alaranta states that a food voucher for Christmas is not enough to fix the poverty of families with children as a social problem, but its meaning for the family is often higher than its monetary value.
“Parents having the means to provide the children with a festive feeling through Christmas treats and small gifts gives hope to both the children and the parents. Memories of childhood Christmases are important to many people even in their adulthood,” Alaranta states.
The collection has brought joy to hundreds of thousands of families over the years
The Good Holiday Spirit collection was organised this year for the 27th time. Over the years, it has helped provide a total of 420,500 food gift vouchers to low-income families with children in Finland.
“We would like to thank everyone who has helped us bring joy to people in vulnerable positions. The feedback we have received from the recipients of the vouchers reveal their joy and surprise that someone has noticed their need for help and has wanted to help. The experience of being seen is important to us all,” Alaranta says.
The Good Holiday Spirit collection is arranged by the Finnish Red Cross and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare in cooperation with Yle, and the partners of the collection are K grocery stores, S Group’s grocery stores and Lidl Finland. The gift cards were distributed to those in need in cooperation with professionals of maternity and child health clinics, social work and diaconia work, among others.
Photo: Ville Salminen / Finnish Red Cross