Christmas is almost upon us, a long-awaited special time of year to mark the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.
As families prepare for a time of celebration, exchanging of gifts, and the sharing of meals, the reality for many this Christmas is a different story. More than one in five of the UK population are living in poverty – that’s 14.5 million people, 4.3 million of those are children and 2.1 million are pensioners (1). With the continual rise of food and fuel prices many families with children face a bleak Christmas this year as they experience a cost of living crisis not seen for 50 years.
We asked some of the COTS community their own experiences as they prepare for the Christmas holidays.
“My hours have recently been cut at work, I’m barely able to support my family. It feels degrading that I won’t be able to afford presents for my children this year.”
“With the food prices being so high I’m not sure how I am going to afford the food to cook Christmas dinner for my family this year, I’m struggling to afford my weekly food shopping.”
“I’m already finding it difficult to feed my two young children and keep our house warm. The thought of Christmas coming up makes my anxiety and mental health really suffer.”
“I only have my pension as a form of income now, I always worry about putting the heating on and with food prices constantly increasing I’m really struggling.”
“’m grateful that I will be able to come to COTS on Christmas day for Christmas dinner, otherwise it would have been a lonely Christmas for me.”
“COTS is a lifeline for my friends and I - a place where we can eat and stay warm, without it we wouldn’t survive.”
Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundation of the Christian faith – the birth of Jesus Christ – the season also allows us to make a difference to those living in poverty through the sharing of hope. At COTS we see the hardship people are facing this Christmas and want to make sure that we stand in the gaps and help people the best we can. Through our foodbank we aim to bring hope and ease the burden of poverty and bring dignity to parents who are already struggling. We remain passionate about sharing the joy of Christmas this year more than ever before.
1: JRF: Overall UK Poverty rates