JC Stewart Grocers overwhelmed with gifts for Daisy Christmas Appeal
JC Stewart Grocers in Magherafelt has had a bumper year collecting gifts for children affected by cancer as part of its Daisy Christmas Appeal.
The community retailer first launched its Daisy Christmas Appeal in 2018 and it is now an annual event which provides gifts via the Cancer Fund for Children Charity partnership.
This year, an overwhelming response by staff, customers and suppliers helped JC Stewart to more than double the number of gifts it collected for families affected by cancer.
Store Manager Gary McCulloch commented, “We first started the “Daisy Christmas Appeal” in November 2018, running the appeal from 1st-30th November.
“After a successful year we decided to make this an annual event and over the past four years the Appeal has increased significantly.
“We put up a Christmas tree decorated with wee daisies and we ask customers to bring in unwrapped gifts for children – we’re especially keen to get gifts for teenagers.
“This year we have been overwhelmed by the response from the public – in other years there would have been no more than 90 gifts, but this year we’ve had more than 250 gifts and £280 in Amazon vouchers. It’s gone to a different level.”
The gifts are for all age groups, but this year saw a particular focus on teenagers, with donors bringing in everything from jewellery and beauty gift sets to footballs, Lego, Bluetooth speakers and board games.
Gary says that over the years he has built up good relationships with the Cancer Fund for Children staff, including corporate fundraiser Alex, cancer support specialist Helen and services manager Neil, to drive annual fundraising events and come up with new and exciting ways to involve staff, customers and the community.
This year they needed to deliver the gifts in a van rather than a car because there were so many, he added.
“This year I delivered the gifts to Belfast, where I was able to meet staff to learn how much these gifts mean to the charity and the young people receiving them,” Gary said.
“It’s very rewarding to learn how this simple appeal can bring so much joy and happiness to a child’s life impacted by cancer at Christmas.”
Last year JC Stewart Grocers organised a sponsored Spring in Step walk which raised more than £5,000 for the Cancer Fund for Children and next year they’re hoping to go even bigger and better with the Christmas gift appeal.
“We’re hoping to partner with the local school and see if we can make it another record year again – it’s good to give something back to a family that’s suffering at Christmas,” Gary said.
“It’s nice to ask for presents rather than always asking for cash donations. You start off with a few presents under the tree and then it starts to grow and grow.”