The Good Holiday Spirit campaign delights low-income families with grocery vouchers again this year. There is a great need for the campaign as the coronavirus crisis has worsened the financial difficulties among families.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected families with children in two ways. It has aggravated the situation for families who were already struggling financially, and unemployment, layoffs and reduced activity in small businesses have resulted in a larger number of families in need.
“The number of families visiting food banks has increased during the pandemic. We are noticing at our food banks that it’s not just adults, but young people are also looking for help for themselves or their families,” says Maaret Alaranta, Social Welfare Coordinator at the Finnish Red Cross.
In addition to financial difficulties, the exceptional situation has exacerbated differences between children in terms of well-being and learning. Stressed-out parents have difficulty supporting their children with school work and hobbies. Services for families with children have been reduced at the same time.
“The Covid pandemic is expected to have long-term effects on children’s well-being, especially if their growing need for support is not met quickly,” says Esa Iivonen, Chief Specialist at the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.
Poverty evokes a sense of deprivation and shame in children
In Finland, 121,000 children grow up in low-income families, which is almost twelve percent of all children. There are various reasons behind the poverty of each family, but some common causes are divorce and single parenthood, long-term illness, unemployment and low income.
For a child growing up in a low-income family, the most notable experience of poverty is social exclusion. Children and young people who contact the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare services and take part in surveys describe how their family’s scarce resources determine their position in relation to their peers: “I can’t do the same things as the others; I feel left out.”
Many children from low-income families are familiar with feelings of shame, deprivation and depression. It can be difficult for them to consider themselves equal to others. Financial problems also cause arguments and uncertainty: “I’m worried that there’s not enough money. What will happen to us? Do we have to move, for example? Where to?”
Children from low-income families have less faith in their potential and chance for a good future. “I sometimes wonder if my whole life will be the same. If I’ll ever have the things that the others have.”
Childhood poverty is a serious problem as it can affect children’s lives well into adulthood. It is difficult to eradicate poverty completely, but it can be reduced and its effects mitigated. Measures that can reduce poverty in families with children include improving the level of basic security and benefits for families, lowering housing costs and increasing the minimum wages.
The Good Holiday Spirit campaign delights families in need
In many low-income families, the sense of exclusion is accentuated around Christmas. It may be impossible for parents to buy presents and shop groceries for Christmas dinner, despite wanting to give the children fond childhood memories.
The Good Holiday Spirit campaign, organised by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare and the Finnish Red Cross, is being held for the 25th time this year. The campaign aims to collect EUR 2.5 million, which is used to donate 36,000 grocery vouchers worth EUR 70 each to low-income families with children in Finland. The campaign runs from 19 November until 24 December 2021.
There are many ways to donate:
- by donating on the website hyvajoulumieli.fi;
- by MobilePay at 66020;
- by donating directly to the Good Holiday Spirit campaign account: IBAN FI33 5780 4120 0801 60. Reference: 5429;
- by calling the campaign telephone line 0600 16555 (EUR 10.01 + local network charge/mobile phone charge);
- by SMS:
- to donate EUR 10, text HJM to 16499
- to donate EUR 10, text HJM10 to 16499
- to donate EUR 20, text HJM20 to 16499
- to donate EUR 30, text HJM30 to 16499
For more information, please contact:
Liisa Partio, Director of Communications and Fundraising, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, liisa.partio(a)mll.fi, tel. +358 40 580 8984
Maaret Alaranta, Social Welfare Coordinator, the Finnish Red Cross, maaret.alaranta(a)punainenristi.fi, tel. +358 40 358 3257
Eveliina Kutila, Press Officer, eveliina.kutila(a)mll.fi, tel. +358 40 580 2393