Diocese of Portsmouth

    Schoolgirl inspires families to donate Christmas treats

    2 Dec. 2020

    IT was an idea that was driven by one of the pupils, 11-year-old Evie Watson. 

    She inspired families from Leesland C of E Junior School in Gosport to show kindness to those living in care homes nearby, by showering them with Christmas gifts.

    Evie (pictured above) recruited staff, pupils and parents from across the school community to donate items. Now they are preparing to give Christmas boxes overflowing with more than 600 separate festive donations to elderly residents living in Gosport.

    The project, which the school has called its ‘Cheer-full Initiative’ involved school families and staff packing boxes with treats including games, clothes, magazines, chocolate, Christmas crackers and home-made presents. Children also designed their own booklets describing the Nativity story.

    The donations were each packed into 30 or so separate large boxes, which were then wrapped in Christmas paper. Those living in care homes will be able to unwrap the boxes on or before Christmas Day.

    Associate headteacher Anne Wake said: “We normally go and sing in local care homes at Christmas, but we can’t do that this year due to Covid. Evie, a pupil at Leesland and Year 6 house captain, has driven this project forward from the start. She created a Powerpoint which was played to every class in the school as part of their collective worship, designed a flyer and has given a lot of her own time to decorate and organise the boxes with help from her friends.

    “We thought we might get two or three boxes, but we were inundated with wonderful gifts from so many of our families. One artist donated a painting she painted herself, and there have been many other lovely things. It fits in with our school values of love, grace and respect.

    “The local community here are so amazing. They always donate generously at Harvest, and have done so again, even though I’m sure that some of them appreciate themselves what it is to be in need.

    “And Evie is a delightful student and epitomises our school values. She’s already made a significant contribution to the school community and has been very proactive in wanting to support others.”

    The Christmas treats will be delivered to the care homes in a Covid-safe way, allowing them to rest in quarantine to ensure there is no transmission of the virus.

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