Christmas is a time of joy and cheer. During those days, we all love celebrating, meeting with our families, giving and receiving gifts. But such moments can feel less “merry” for those who may not be as lucky as we are. This Christmas 2021, students from King Edward’s College in Nuneaton have once again done an amazing job at supporting those people. They collected gifts and donations for residents at the Acorn Lodge care home. “We wanted to do something for Christmas and help those that are less fortunate than ourselves in receiving presents,” a student said. It was all part of the volunteering programme that the college runs every year; Friends of Acorn Lodge are delighted that their relationship with King Edward’s allows both parties to achieve a shared goal: benefiting the community in Nuneaton.
With that objective in mind and with great motivation in their heart, students formed different groups and started a small competition. In the first week, they approached big companies like Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Co-op to ask for donations, which were sent directly to the school. Students then went on to collect contributions from their families and from staff at King Edward’s, before combining it all to purchase gifts. “In the beginning it was a bit competitive, but by the end we all worked together to make it,” a student explained. Christmas Jumper Day 2021, on December 10th, was also a great chance for students to raise awareness on their project and one which they took advantage of perfectly. Staff at King Edward’s wore Christmas jumpers and students joined them in keeping up the festive spirit. Setting up different fundraising points around college, they were able to collect more gifts. In the end, they managed to gather a whole range of presents, from fun activity books and beautiful gift sets to very useful warm blankets.
Friends of Acorn Lodge were enthusiastic to put college staff in contact with the care home, providing residents’ names for students to write Christmas cards, and organising the donations’ drop off. Because of current coronavirus restrictions, students were not able to go directly into Acorn Lodge and could only leave gifts outside the home; nonetheless, residents and staff were truly appreciative and sent a Christmas card to students as a thank you.
King Edward’s volunteering programme is a very formative opportunity for scholars. They learn and make use of all sorts of organisational skills, enhancing their ability to work in a team and deliver a project. While doing so, they make an impact on their local community. “Participating in something that’s also going to help people is quite rewarding,” a student said. “It was nice to make residents feel better, especially over Christmas when they can feel most lonely”. Friends of Acorn Lodge truly appreciate the work that staff and students at King Edward’s College carry out, and are very happy to collaborate with them to make all of this become a reality. It is through these acts of love and sharing that residents get to enjoy the festive spirit, as they deserve, while students grasp what ultimately is the “true” essence of Christmas.