Local MP Anum Qaisar announces her advent calendar Christmas drive, calling on businesses and supermarkets across the constituency to donate advent calendars for the most vulnerable children in her constituency.
Ms Qaisar has recently written to businesses and supermarkets across the constituency asking for their support in her advent calendar drive, so children across the Airdrie and Shotts constituency receive some festive joy this Christmas.
It is her hope that businesses in the community across Airdrie and Shotts will come together in the spirit of Christmas and donate advent calendars for the chosen local charities, that will distribute them to the children who use their service.
Ms Qaisar is working closely with the community champions from supermarkets across the constituency, as well as other local businesses, to gather as many advent calendars as possible.
Ms Qaisar said:
“I am asking the local community to come together and participate in my advent calendar drive, reminding us that Christmas is not only about the presents we give and receive, but what we can do to help others in their time of need".
“Households across my constituency are facing severe financial pressure as a result of a rising cost of living and are having to make the difficult decisions between basic necessities as a result. This will unfortunately see many children go without presents and simple joys of Christmas - like advent calendars".
With inflation rates remaining at over 10%, many families will be facing tough choices this Winter and cutting back on Christmas gifts. A recent YouGov survey suggests that 78% of parents with children under 18 have concerns over the impact of inflation on their holiday shopping, with 34% of shoppers stating it will have a major impact on their spending.
Commenting on rising costs, Ms. Qaisar said:
“As prices continue to skyrocket and with Christmas fast approaching us, households across the constituency are unfortunately preparing for a challenging festive period.
"I receive regular correspondence from families across the constituency who are worried about the cost of Christmas and providing the things, such as advent calendars for their children - which are often taken for granted”.
The advent calendars will be distributed between four constituency based charities: Paul’s Parcels, Airdrie Foodbank, Airdrie Community School Uniform Bank and Diamonds in the Community. The organisations will then distribute the calendars to children who use their services.
Foodbanks, such as Shotts based Paul’s Parcels, are reporting an increase in demand due to the cost-of-living crisis. In August 2022, nearly 90% of food banks in the Independent Food Aid Network reported an increase in demand since April.
Discussing the importance of the advent calendar drive, Pauls’ Parcel’s founder Tracy Duffy said:
“People say you can buy an advent calendar for a pound but for a lot of families, a pound is the difference between having milk in the fridge that week or bread".
"People see these items as doable because of the price of them, but if you’ve only got a pound, then an advent calendar is a luxury item”.
Airdrie Community School Uniform Bank, who provide clothing, food and other necessities to children in Airdrie and across the local area highlighted the importance of treat such as advent calendars in bringing some Christmas cheers to families.
Founder, Kirsty Taggarty said: “It makes a huge difference to know that kids are going to get up on Christmas morning and have that build up to Christmas with the advent calendars.
“It’s not just the kids that benefit as well, it also takes a lot of pressure off the parents too”.
Discussing the demand that is currently being placed on foodbanks, Airdrie Foodbank commented:
“Our biggest concern at this moment is demand, I think we’re going to see demand really shoot up over the next month now as the temperatures drop and energy bills go up".
“I think Christmas this year is going to look slightly different as people will be in survival mode".
“There’s a lot of kids out there that don’t get what other kids get. They see their friends getting simple things like an advent calendar and they’re not able to get that because their parents can’t afford it. These luxuries go a long way".
“When someone comes to the foodbank it’s a very basic pack of food they receive and generally there’s not a lot of luxuries. So, at Christmas if we can add some extra luxury items in there that does make a difference to people".
Local organisation, Diamonds in the Community, also commented:
“It breaks my heart to think there’s kids in the local area that are going to wake up without even one present at what’s supposed to be a happy time".
“Seeing wee kids coming in with their happy smile and run down to our toy room, it’s like the way you were on Christmas morning running into your own living room".
Commenting on the work of the charities within her constituency, Ms. Qaisar said:
“Organisations such as Paul’s Parcels, Airdrie Foodbank, Airdrie Community School Uniform Bank and Diamonds in the Community provide my constituents who are struggling with a lifeline, and I cannot thank the volunteers enough for their unwavering hard work and agreeing to be part of this advent calendar drive".
“It is my that hope that by putting together this advent calendar drive and working with local businesses and charities, that we are able to restore some of festive cheer, for some who may find this festive period particularly challenging”.
The Airdrie & Shott’s MP’s office at 2 East High Street, Airdrie, ML6 6LF, will be open every Friday between 10:00am and 12:00pm as a drop off point for anyone wishing to donate advent calendars.
The deadline for donations is the 25th of November to ensure all children have their advent calendars in time for the count down to Christmas to begin!