Chocs away! Donna’s bowled over by people in Stevenage’s Advent calendar generosity

Donna Lee and Sarah Carter at Stevenage Borough Council offices donating the calendars.

Donna Lee and Sarah Carter at Stevenage Borough Council offices donating the calendars. - Credit: Archant

The generosity of people in Stevenage has allowed more than 300 underprivileged children to have Advent calendars this Christmas.

In all people donated 302 calendars.

In all people donated 302 calendars. - Credit: Archant

The appeal was started three weeks ago by Donna Lee, who lives in Great Ashby, after she saw a Facebook post by comedian Jason Manford about a similar project he was involved in last year. The 40-year-old thought it sounded like a great idea and posted a message on her account asking her friends to donate.

The fundraising manager for The Children’s Trust said: “I was expecting to get around 10 calendars but it just went mad. My friend Sarah Carter and I started organising collections because we had people donating from absolutely everywhere.

“We posted about it on Stevenage Community Food Bank’s Facebook page and they told us that in their collection bins the week after they received around 50 calendars.

“In all people donated 302 calendars which was great. I’m always asking people to donate because of my job as a fundraising manager but I’ve never had a response like this. The great thing about this appeal is that even people who don’t have much money can afford to buy an Advent calendar because they’re so cheap. The most satisfying moment for me was when I saw a Facebook post about how a mother’s face lit up when she was given a calendar for her daughter.”

Donna received so many calendars that there were enough to distribute to Letchworth, Hitchin and Welwyn foodbanks. She now plans on running a similar appeal with Easter eggs next year. She said: “It went so well and it’s all down to people’s generosity so I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated for making some unfortunate children’s lives a little nicer this Christmas.”

The foodbank is holding a collection an all-day on Saturday at Waitrose in Stevenage.