More than 800 disadvantaged children and young people in Portsmouth will get a chocolate Easter egg this week – thanks to the amazing generosity of city churchgoers.
Church of England churches across Portsmouth have been collecting Easter eggs during Lent, so they can be donated to children and young people supported by the Roberts Centre and Southern Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS). More than 800 Easter eggs have now been handed over to those two charities.
The Roberts Centre in Landport supports families facing homelessness, family breakdown or difficult times. SDAS supports women and children affected by domestic violence through its refuge and outreach services.
The appeal was spearheaded by St Mary’s Church in Fratton Road.
Canon Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s, said: “It has been an amazing response to the appeal for eggs. Each week I have watched with wonder as more and more people of every age donate Easter eggs.
“We have been overwhelmed to see the generosity expressed and delighted to share them with others as a reminder of the overwhelming and generous love of God shown to us in Jesus.”
Churchgoer Sarah Merrick, whose three foster children donated Easter eggs, said: “The children wanted to do something to help and they chose to save up their pocket money to buy eggs for the appeal. They have been through what a lot of the children who are going to receive these eggs have been through, and they know the joy of someone else caring about them.
“These children might be in really difficult circumstances through no fault of their own. The love people have shown through giving an Easter egg means that these children get something that lots of people and most children accept as the norm. We are sharing God’s love with other people who potentially might not have anything.”
Nadine and her three-year-old daughter receive support from the Roberts Centre. The family are on a low income and without the appeal, Nadine would have struggled to afford a chocolate egg for her daughter this year.
Nadine said: “I think it is a brilliant idea. There are so many families on such a low income base and they can’t afford to buy Easter eggs and this appeal means that each child has got one egg and one smile on Easter morning when they open them.
“It warms my heart. It gives me hope. I can put that money on electric or contribute it to another bill rather than have to worry about my daughter and Easter egg hunts and things.
“When she sees this egg she will probably pick it up kiss it, throw it on the floor and then run around with such a big smile on her face. She will love it.”
Jo Eamey, SDAS’s business support and development manager, said: “A lot of our families are very short of money and receiving an egg in this way means that they have one less thing to worry about when they are struggling to support their children.
“They are always really appreciative of collections like these. When they are at their lowest ebb it helps them to know that there is a whole community of people who care about them.”