It may seem a bit on the early side to be thinking about Christmas, but the Cambridge Committee of Social Services (CCOSS) is well underway with organising its Christmas Cheer, an annual initiative to help Cambridge families in need enjoy a festive Christmas Day.
CCOSS Chair Julie Epps said: “Last year over 60 families received Christmas Cheer thanks to the generosity of Lions, Rotary, Salvation Army and individuals, churches and businesses in the community. Each family had a lovely parcel of Christmas food and great toys for the children.”
CCOSS is a group of Cambridge social agencies and community groups, including the Cambridge churches, Lions, Cambridge Community House, Cambridge Marae, Age Concern, WINZ and Citizens Advice Bureau. The CCOSS members work together and pool resources to run the Christmas Cheer.
Julie said: “We know everyone gets busy closer to Christmas, so this year we decided to set up the collection station earlier. If businesses, groups or individuals want to donate festive food, new toys or financial gifts, they can be dropped off anytime from now at our collection point – the Salvation Army premises in Williamson St, Monday to Thursday between 10am and 2pm, or by arrangement phone 07 827 4723.”
Last year was the first time CCOSS had centralised the donations at one place and it streamlined the process for all involved. Karen Baker, Captain of the Cambridge Salvation Army, said: “There were an amazing number of toys donated. The only area we ran short of gifts was for teenagers – so toiletries, towels, sports gear are all welcome options for them.”
The Christmas Cheer team has asked for donated toys to be supplied unwrapped. As Karen explained: “The toys are sorted into sections, and the parents really appreciated being able to see the toys and choose what is right for their children. We had a giftwrapping table set up too for the parents to wrap the gifts, so if you would like to include a roll of giftwrap separately, that would be great.”