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The Heart of Our Magical Grotto: A Story of Community and Christmas Spirit
It all began during the challenging times of COVID...
As my team and I ventured out to assist our community, we encountered incredible people, uncovering a profound need but also a deep-seated desire to help among many. This realization sparked the birth of our first mission: to ensure no child in our area woke up on Christmas morning without a gift. Partnering with local primary schools, we identified children who might face a giftless Christmas morning. The response was overwhelming, and it became clear that we could, and should, do more.
In the following year, armed with the backing of our incredible social media community, we decided to expand our reach. Our ambition was not just to touch more lives but to immerse them in the true magic of Christmas. This led to the creation of our very first Christmas grotto. But this wasn’t just any grotto; we had a direct line to Santa himself! With his help, we transformed the grotto into a wonderland where children could meet Santa and receive gifts from their Christmas lists.
Our goal? To create an enchanting experience that children would treasure for a lifetime, reigniting their belief in the magic of Christmas. We opened entries for nominations, inviting parents and community members to put forward names of children who might otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas Day. Then began the heartwarming process: for each selected child, we diligently worked to fulfill their Christmas list. This meant stretching every penny from donations, seeking discounts, and leveraging my connections to maximize the impact of every gift.
Thanks to the generosity of companies like Sports Direct, Smyths Toy Store, and Morrisons in Teesside Park, we've been able to spread joy far and wide. On the day of the grotto, everything is free - from food to hot chocolate, ensuring there’s no barrier to experiencing this special day. What's more, after ensuring those at risk of going without have received their gifts, we open our grotto to every child, free of charge.
I’m deeply grateful to our main supporters - John Hughes, Gerard May from HMH CIVILS, and Dean Benson - whose substantial contributions have been pivotal. And to you, my social media family, who flock to our Amazon wishlist to fulfill children's wishes, your support has been nothing short of incredible.
In closing, to everyone reading this, know that your kindness has a profound impact. Because of you, a child will find a special gift under their tree this year. And as you sit down for your Christmas dinner, you can cherish the knowledge that you’ve played a part in spreading the true spirit of Christmas. Together, we are making a difference, one smile at a time.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.. Mike Hind MBE
HUGE THANK YOU
To the amazing companies listed below who have all made donations to the 2023 appeal.
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