North Ayrshire congregation helps to collect hundreds of gifts for children this Christmas

A North Ayrshire congregation has helped to provide 230 gift bags for children in their local community this Christmas.

Mansefield Trinity Church partnered with the local Tesco Metro to collect 230 gift bags for children around Kilwinning
Mansefield Trinity Church partnered with the local Tesco Metro to collect 230 gift bags for children around Kilwinning.

First started in 2018, Mansefield Trinity Church's Gift Giving Tree Project collects presents for children, aged between six months and 17 years, during the festive period.

Gifts worth more than £5,500 were donated by members of church, people from the wider community, and customers and staff of the Tesco Metro Saltcoats shop in Saltcoats, who officially supported the project.

The children were identified through local schools, early years centres and youth organisations.

Staff from the Tesco's shop also organised charitable activities in order to buy toys, gifts and Christmas treats for the children.

Carol Boyd, who is a member of staff at Mansefield Trinity Church, said: "I believe that the church has a real opportunity to bring people together, especially during this pandemic.

"The Gift Giving Tree project allowed members of our congregation, people from the wider community, schools nurseries and early years centres, as well as local businesses to join together and work in partnership to support families who are experiencing hardship over the Christmas period.

"Even though most families are struggling for one reason or another, 230 families in our small community rallied round.

"I believe that this shows an example of true Christian love and community giving spirit."

Tracey Gemmell, the Tesco community champion from Tesco Metro Saltcoats, describes the shop as being "in the heart of the Community" and that says that they work alongside different projects throughout the year.

"For a very small shop clearly it has a very big heart and yes, to use their slogan, every little helps," she added.

Church elder Lynne Bennett praised the initiative: "Social inclusion was demonstrated at its very best during Mansefield Trinity Church's recent Christmas Giving Tree campaign in partnership with its local community.

"Our church congregation operated enthusiastically as public servants who impacted greatly in the lives of many children and families locally, ensuring they had a better Christmas.

"Hebrews 13:16 says: 'And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased'."