Gift Giving Week

This year has been one of mental and physical struggle for a lot of people, it has seen the economy in pieces and our normal lives put on hold. But it has also been a year in which I have never seen more generosity, more love and more community spirit. I have been fortunate in my business, with the entire country turning to online shopping in order to fill their new home bar needs, my baby has been able to grow. And so I wanted to use some of that growth to support some of the amazing local organisation who really stepped up this year. Over 5 days I gave away £1000 across five incredible organisations working throughout the Teesside area.

Large Steel River Cheque held up by Steel River Employee and Volunteer at Billingham Foodbank

Billingham and Stockton Food Bank

Over the Christmas period, as well as their usual work (which apparently doubles in demand at this time of year) the food bank has also sent 45 hampers to local schools and will be sending even more out over the next few weeks. They also ran a toy fair and will be holding another, allowing parents to pick toys for their children so that no child goes without something to open come Christmas morning. How amazing is that?! No child should be denied the magic of Christmas, but when families are not given the support they need it can be the only option. So it’s amazing to know that a charity like this exists in my area! There will be some very happy children thanks to their amazing work.

Large Steel River Cheque held up by Steel River Employee and employee from Five Lamps

Five lamps

Since March they have delivered around 500 food parcels. They have assisted people who are shielding/self-isolating with support that included telephone calls, food parcels and cleaning bundles through their Pandemic Crisis Project. They have delivered around 3,000 hours of home care every week in Stockton South as well as supporting people aged over 50 on their return home from hospital on our Home from Hospital service. They have delivered a virtual breakfast club to 70 young people and to top it all off they have worked with another local charity (Little Sprouts) to deliver over 200 free portions of fish and chips to the local community, 80 cream teas to local residential homes, drove a spooky bus around 100 streets in Thornaby and more recently they have been delivering Christmas pop ups in Thornaby, where they give out gifts and hot chocolate!!!!

Large Steel River Cheque held up by Steel River Employee and Volunteers from the Link Charitable Trust

The Link Charitable trust

They are an amazing organisation that works with children, young people and families to improve their mental health and emotional well-being. They offer all sorts of amazing events and activities with the focus on supporting those who are struggling with their mental and/or emotional wellbeing. During Covid they have taken to Zoom like a fish to water, hosting kid’s classes, quiz’s and space for young people to have open and honest conversations (which makes such a huge difference!). They have been a huge support to a lot of young people and families in the area during this year of chaos and so I really do tip my hat to them! To top it off this festive season they are creating lots of Christmas hampers for the young people (aged 16 – 25) of Redcar and Cleveland who might be on their own at Christmas. What an amazing way to show those people that they are not as alone as they may think. At this time of year that couldn’t be more vital!

Large Steel River Cheque held up by Steel River Employee and founder of Hartlepool Baby Bank

Hartlepool Baby Bank

They support parents by helping provide items such as prams, nappies, clothes etc. to those families who need it. They have a baby bank which has transformed into a pop up event run from the car since Covid hit. They were determined not to let families go without despite the pandemic so have been delivering things, supporting new parents who are shielding and so much more! They hope to soon be able to once again hold their stay and play safe sessions. They have recently expanded their services to support families with young children up to the end of primary school. They are a selfless lot determined not to let Covid stop them!

Large Steel River Cheque held up by Jay Byers and Volunteer at NQA Foodbank

NQA Food bank

They are a newly set up Foodbank in Darlington providing so much more than just food. They want to focus on the cause of the issue by working with other organisations and initiatives to give people access to training, job opportunities and crucial mental health support. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the kind of people who use food banks, the majority of users are simply people who have fallen through the net and need help to support themselves and their families, for what could be only a couple of weeks. So many people have lost jobs this year and so the demand for these services has gone through the roof, and that’s why NQA started. They want to make sure the people in Darlington have access to the support they need without a lot of intimidating questions. Last week they fed 150 people!!! Some of these people are having to choose between paying bills and feeding their kids, which I can’t even begin to comprehend the stress and mental strain that would have.

It’s been an amazing week getting to learn more about these organisations and hear about all the fantastic work they have done to step up during a year in which their communities have never needed them more. I’m so proud that as a business I am able to support the work they do and give back to the incredible community that continues to support Steel River Drinks.

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