Christmas hampers to bring good cheer to thousands
Hundreds of Christmas hampers have been delivered by church goers, council staff and police in a huge operation bringing cheer to some of the borough’s most needy.
Doxa Dea church, in association with the borough police and Merton Council, hit and exceeded their target of creating 500 hampers for the Christmas Lunch of Jesus initiative.
In a a two day operation on Friday and Saturday, 530 hampers were packed and handed out by 25 teams, each with carefully prepared routes and instructions to ensure families received the gifts in time for Christmas day.
Doxa Dea church leader Ioannis Dakis praised the huge support of the council and police in making the project run smoothly.
He said: "At one stage I was quite concerned we wouldn’t reach the target but we actually we reached it so far in advance we have been able to put money aside for next year, which will give it a real kick start.
"The support has been incredible and it is such a wonderful thing to be associated with a borough wide scheme bringing such happiness at Christmas."
Funding for the hampers, which each cost about £60 was raised through donations by the Doxa Dea congregation, a London to Paris bike ride, and a charity auction following a gala concert in London which saw items such as a signed photograph of Andy Murray vintage champagne a tea at the House of Commons go under the hammer.
The scheme was first launched last year when the church was able to deliver 290 hampers.
By doubling the number this year, Mr Dakis expects about 2500 residents to benefit from the gifts.
Borough Commander Darren Williams, who helped pack and distribute the hampers, said: "For many people living in Merton, the Christmas holidays are not a joyful experience. Meeting the essential needs of life can so overwhelming that a festive celebration at Christmas is not only inconceivable, but financially impossible.
"I was delighted therefore to find out about a church group on my Borough that had set themselves the challenging target of delivering a complete Christmas Dinner hamper with everything needed for a full meal, to our most in need people across Merton this Christmas."
A 4kg frozen turkey.
shortbread and a small gift
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