THE Observer’s Christmas appeal has seen people brought back into the community – as readers made it a festive season to remember.
A fantastic number of contributions were made to homeless charity Stonepillow.
Community fundraiser Emily Skiggs said donations had allowed people in unfortunate circumstances to feel part of the community again.
“It’s really important because all the clients that come and participate on Christmas Day don’t have anywhere to go, so they really do appreciate having a place to go to share Christmas celebrations,” she said.
“It makes them feel the local community are thinking of them.”
For the past few weeks, the Observer has asked for donations ranging from food to warm clothes and kitchenware for night shelters.
Emily added that the fundraising push helped raise awareness of the charity, which finds itself especially busy at this time of year.
“It’s obviously a problem throughout the year, but Christmas can be hard.
“There are factors – like the financial pressures on families at Christmas and family breakdowns – and you can see a small increase in people becoming homeless.
“The donations this year were really successful. We received so much.
“That was partly due to the Observer campaign. We’ve built up our Facebook following and we had published information and linked it with the Observer. The donations this year were fantastic.”
There was a particularly large donation from FA Holland and Son, funeral directors, based in Jubilee Road, in Chichester.
Funeral arranger Linda Yaxley said the firm was always looking to help in the community – and had a budget set aside for good causes such as this one.
On Christmas Eve, the firm’s staff turned up at Stonepillow’s base at the Old Glassworks, in St Cyriacs, Chichester, with food for Christmas dinner there the following day, which fed 20 clients, including St Joseph’s night shelter residents.
There were also five volunteers, two members of staff and one relief member.
Linda and colleague Cherry Ward also surprised Stonepillow by spending around £1,000 of their budget on fleeces, tents, hats and much more from Millets as a Christmas gift.