Christmas 2022
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Surviving Christmas

Surviving Christmas is run by a group of volunteer Trustees and supported by lead and regular volunteers who all live local to the area. Each person brings a different skill to the charity but we all have one thing in common, we are passionate about the work of Surviving Christmas in relieving hardship and distress to those most in need or vulnerable at this time of year.

Throughout the year we organise fundraising events so that we can financially support our projects over the Christmas period. We welcome volunteer support for these and will advertise our events on Facebook and via the website.

We look forward to working with volunteers from previous years as well as new recruits. In previous years we have asked volunteers to sign up for a job role and date through a Volunteer tab on this website. Each of the Project days start at 9.30am and finish by 4.30pm – the afternoon shifts start at 1pm. We look forward to working with you at the Salvation Army Hall, St Andrews Square, Hastings.

Hamper Project

Another fantastic achievement with nearly 700 food hampers packed and distributed for those most in need in our local area. This could not happen without the hard work, dedication and commitment of our volunteers and partnership agencies, who nominate for their clients and support the deliveries. We would like to thank each and every person involved and believe that 2021 was a great success.

The story of the hamper week – Volunteers started working on the contact with local agencies in October and had collated all the nominations by the beginning of December so that lists of recipients either for delivery or collection were ready for the packing week commencing 13th December. Other volunteers had hired a van and collected the free hamper boxes from the company SAICA in Reading so it was just the food we needed! A bulk food buy from Morrisons’ was delivered on Monday so we could start packing in the afternoon, having set out the hall ready for action. Each day we had a merry band of about 20 volunteers making up the boxes, packing hampers, making sandwiches, sorting cardboard and manning reception. We also received non-perishable food donations from Schools, Churches, local businesses and individuals which boosted our food supplies and added even more Christmas cheer to our hampers. Over the following four days we packed and distributed nearly 400 of the hampers with the invaluable support of volunteers using their own transport.

The remaining 300 or so hampers were made up and collected from the Hall by agencies or individuals and all volunteers and agency workers made this happen efficiently and effectively with little fuss, lots of fun and the odd hurdle to overcome such as extra food runs to Morrisons and the ‘disappearing box saga’. We had to source ‘bags for life’ from Tesco (at their cost) to make up two bags of food for recipients instead of a boxed hamper.

Once again, this year, we abided by COVID 19 Government regulations of mask wearing, hand sanitising and social distancing to keep each other, ourselves and others safe.

The ‘new toy’ appeal was also a great success again with hundreds of new toys donated to be sorted, some wrapped and distributed with hampers. Santa’s Grotto Day brought over 75 children to visit where we had fun, refreshments and a gift from Santa himself. The Hastings Salvation Army have supported the toy appeal and are an ongoing support with the premises for the projects.

The Two Day Open Event – Christmas and Boxing Day 2021

Both days saw volunteers and guests chatting, eating, playing board games, watching movies, listening to the entertainment, dancing and generally having fun. Guests were also able to enjoy a shower and haircut if they wished. It was a lovely atmosphere and hopefully gave many people a Christmas to remember in a year which has been more trying than ever before. Teams of volunteers were supported and organised by Committee Members on each day. It is clear that everyone worked so hard and played their role – thank you from us all.

Adam, our Chef (of many years) created his usual magic with the support of all his kitchen helpers. It is estimated that over 100 hot lunches were enjoyed by Guests on Christmas Day and 60+ Boxing Day, not forgetting any volunteers who also joined our guests in the festive meals. Local fruit / vegetable and meat distributors as well as the local college help to make it run smoothly, with fresh, good quality ingredients.

We continue to be successful due to the hard work and dedication of the lead volunteers, local agencies, supporting organisations and the Trustees. The website team from Freshonline are an invaluable resource as they have supported our charity with the creation of the website and continue to offer free guidance and support adding regular updates and volunteer recruitment applications where needed.

If you are reading this and interested in our charity and would like to get more involved throughout the year and / or at Christmas then please come along to the AGM in May 2022 and sign up to become a lead volunteer or get on the mailing list for support over Christmas. If you cannot attend the AGM then please contact via the website Contact Page and we will get back to you as soon as possible

“A big thank you from a family who received a hamper from one of the agencies – the children were so excited to receive gifts, chocolate and crackers.”

Agency anon – Christmas 2021

“Thank you to you all, you have made my Christmas. My children will love their gifts.’ A lady who collected her hamper”

Anon. Christmas 2021

“You are lovely people, angels from heaven to have brought me a food hamper at Christmas – thank you.’ A phone message from someone after receiving their hamper which was delivered.”

anon. Christmas 2021

Our Objectives

The objectives of Surviving Christmas are to relieve in cases of need, hardship or distress persons who are resident, whether temporarily or not, in the County Borough of Hastings or the Rother District in the County of East Sussex during the Festive Season.

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer for Surviving Christmas? Find out more on our Christmas 2022 page.