Children and families spending time in hospital over Christmas can miss their usual treats, but thanks to Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project, they still got some a taste of home.
Parents Lucy and Simon Pond set up the project nine years ago in memory of their little boy Aidan. In partnership with Rockinghorse, they raise funds every year to gift families spending the festive season in hospital across Sussex with hampers.
In the run up to Christmas, Lucy spent time getting the hampers ready to deliver to families. This year she was joined by 11 volunteers who gathered to fill, wrap and pack the gifts in DS19NED warehouse in Hailsham.
In total, 90 hampers were delivered and distributed to families at the Alex, TMBU, SCBU, Chalkhill and Worthing Hospital. Lucy arrived at the hospitals in style, thanks to a branded van courtesy of Hugh from Dragon Signs.
Lucy said, “It was fantastic to work with such great volunteers this year, to provide the hampers to the hospitals across Sussex.
“Having been a parent spending Christmas in hospital with a sick child I know that the hampers will lift spirits of tired and worried parents.
“I’d like to thank to Caroline Davenport Potter from Davenport Events, the caterer I work with who creates and handmakes all the food for the hampers and buffet. And also, thanks to Hugh Potter from DS19NED who lets us use his warehouse and van to wrap and deliver the hampers. Finally, thanks to Martin Mewes at Ronald MacDonald House, the play team and all the nurses who help give out the hampers to parents.”
The hampers contained treats for parents including a range of delicious homemade Christmas goodies such as brownies, Christmas pudding and mince pies. They also contained tea donated by Jo Zakiewicz, Blue Note Filter coffee provided at cost price by Small Batch Coffee Brighton, handmade tree decoration by Liz Doe, cafetiere’s and hand cream funded by Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project, and a voucher for a family to visit Middle Farm donated by Middle Farm.
Then on Christmas Day itself, volunteers Sarah, Kelly and Nicola went along to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day to provide a delicious buffet, including a selection of cheeses donated by High Weald Dairy, for parents with children staying in the hospital and in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit over Christmas.
Sarah Webster, one of this year’s volunteers who helped pack the hampers said, “It is such a privilege to be able to give something back after all the care my daughter Amber-Lily received at the Royal Alex. I know too well what it is like as a parent being in hospital with a sick child. Any comfort, whilst trying to stay strong, is much appreciated.”
Holly and Ben Taylor found themselves unexpectedly in hospital with their son over Christmas. They were grateful for the support they received, “Would just like to say thank you for the wonderful hamper. We were far from home as we were visiting family for the day and had no supplies on us.
“Having tea, coffee and snacks made such a difference. If you fundraise for next Christmas, we shall donate to help continue your wonderful project in Aidan’s memory. Many thanks.”
Another family said, “We were taken aback when the hamper arrived. It felt like someone had seen us, seen what we were going through and silently acknowledged the way it would feel for mum and dad to be stuck in hospital on Christmas Day.
“We had been trying to keep it together for our son but couldn’t believe the generosity – made us quite emotional. The hamper gave us something exciting to open that made it feel like Christmas and more than that the gifts were genuinely useful and thoughtful.
“When you’re in hospital with a sick child you deprioritise yourself so much, but the hamper was so meaningful – we suddenly felt valued and not an afterthought as the contents were things we could genuinely enjoy.
“Thank you so much to everyone that donates and to the incredible Aidan’s Xmas Dinner project for pulling it together.”
For more information about the Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project or to donate, click here.