As we anticipated, this year was our busiest Christmas so far. So busy in fact, we’ve only just recovered. In previous years, we invited clients to come in and receive donations of food, pyjamas and toys at various appointment times throughout the day. It has always been hectic but wonderful. This year, however, we knew we would have greater numbers so we increased our appointments to stretch over two days. We roped in a few extra elves to help distribute donations and even had a surprise visit from Alexandra Mardell from Coronation Street, who mucked in and helped out in all the chaos.
All in all, we distributed donations to 96 clients who visited over 2 days. This included food for those 96 women, 158 children and 46 additional adults.
We also provided food for other charities which fed an additional 100 people.
As well as food, we distributed 2064 toys for 608 children. We even had donations of Christmas trees and decorations for those families without them.
Ali working hard in the office
One of the toy kitchens we gave away, and the lucky boy who opened it on Christmas morning
We could not have done any of this without our loyal supporters. Whether you volunteered, donated, bought from the wishlist or simply shared our posts on social media to spread the word, we want to say thank you. We received many letters from clients after Christmas explaining how without these donations, their family would not have had a Christmas. The Christmas dinner, the treats, the presents and the decorations all add up to a Christmas that parents can look forward to, not dread.
We expect next year to be even busier, we dread to think when we’ll have to start planning it! For now though, we are organising our first Emmeline’s Pantry Jamboree, so look out for information on our Facebook page.
As some of you may already know, we have a scheme called Making Memories, where we aim to provide service users with tickets to shows and events or vouchers for a meal out. Every family deserves to celebrate birthdays and achievements, or simply treat their children to something a bit special every now and then.
In October 2020, we are hoping to take some of our families to see a matinee of Disney’s the Lion King at the Palace theatre. For many of our service users, this is the first time they have been able to take their children to see a show and that’s why we’re raising money to buy as many tickets as possible. If you would like to donate, you can do so at
People often ask us how they can help Emmeline’s Pantry. We welcome volunteers, but with busy lives, families and jobs, many people aren’t able to volunteer their time on a regular basis, as much as they’d like to. So here’s a list of things you can do, every contribution counts and we’re grateful for all that our supporters do;
Do you regularly shop at the Co-op? If you don’t already have one, you can apply for a membership card. As well as earning points to spend in store, you can log on to their website and select a local charity to support. Emmeline’s Pantry are one of their causes for the next 12 months. By choosing us as your local cause, a percentage of the money you spend on Co-op products will go to us, at no extra cost to you.
A lot of people say they’d like to donate items to us, but don’t know what we need. We have set up a wishlist on Amazon, where you can order directly from the list and orders will be delivered to us. That way, you can be sure that you’re donating exactly what we need and it will come straight to us.
Last week we celebrated with some of our supporters and volunteers with a fair in our new building. We had a raffle, with some amazing prizes donated by local businesses, vouchers and hampers. Cara from the Body Shop came along so we could buy some treats and presents for loved ones. Levy Chorus came and gave a fantastic performance to get us all in the mood for Christmas.
We had brownies and mince pies from Albert’s Restaurant in Didsbury, a table top sale, Christmas grotto, tombola and story time. Everyone had a brilliant time and we all started to feel like Christmas is really on its way. By the end of the day, we’d raised £396!
We hope to make these types of event a more regular occurrence at Emmeline’s, so look out for our Facebook posts so you can come down and meet us!
In November, we’ve been fundraising to try and give all our women and their families a wonderful Christmas. We are very fortunate to have some amazing supporters who respond to our requests for help. Just this week, we asked our Facebook followers for help in buying nappies, as this is something we struggle to afford enough of. Within a few days, we had raise £525 to purchase a bulk discount of nappies. These will keep us going for a long time, and ensure that every mother who visits us won’t have to worry about nappies for her children.
Our next fundraiser was an auction for a Manchester City shirt, signed by Joao Cancelo, donated to us to raise money. After all the bids were in, the winning offer was a whopping £110! This money will go a huge way to paying for Christmas food and give Christmas to families who might otherwise have struggled to provide anything. Thank you to all who made bids.
We also had some Christmas trees and decorations donated by a charity called Everyone Deserves A Little Sparkle At Christmas, which were distributed to families who wouldn’t have been able to afford a tree of their own.
In December, we will be collecting the following for our Christmas drive;
Christmas food treats
New toys (we particularly struggle for presents for babies and teenagers)
Stay tuned for more ways on how you can help Emmelines…
This weekend, we gathered round the TV and watched Ali Mardell, aka Emma Brooker from Coronation Street, on Celebrity Catchphrase on ITV. Ali has been a supporter of Emmeline’s Pantry and even helped out last Christmas with our ambassador, Dolly-Rose Campbell.
Ali was wonderful, and raised a tremendous £3,300 for Emmeline’s Pantry and gave us some much appreciated publicity at the same time. We are so grateful that she chose to represent us, congratulations Ali!
October was mainly concerned with finishing our building decoration and celebrating our achievements so far. Our new building is now decked out in the suffragette colours of purple and green. We also secured funding for our outdoor play area to be painted with a rainbow racing track, as part of our plan to make the play area bright, colourful and fun for the children who visit us.
At the end of the month, we threw a celebration event for all our supporters, to show our appreciation for all that they do. Without their help, Emmeline’s could not function. We even had a celebrity guest, our wonderful ambassador and Coronation Street star, Dolly-Rose Campbell.
Dolly having a cuddle with our newest (and sleepiest) supporter
Of course, we did do more than just party with celebrities. The hard work continued and our supporters were busy raising money and donations. Some did a bag pack at ASDA and we received two large deliveries of food donated at harvest festivals at Manchester High School For Girls and St James’ Church in Gatley.
Another spectacular donation arrived, in the form of 150 brand new jumpers from Skyland Clothing. With the weather turning cold, they were soon snapped up by the service users. It was amazing for the women to have such a huge selection to choose from. This feeling of choice when shopping for clothing is a luxury many of us take for granted, to choose an item which fits, suits us, and is fit for purpose is something small that means a lot.
Don’t forget, this month we are appealing for gift sets and new pyjamas. You can donate these in person or via the Amazon Wishlist. Next month, we’ll be requesting chocolates, luxury foods and Christmas treats, so keep an eye out for any offers, we’ll be accepting donations through November and December.
If you have any clothes to donate, please keep hold of them until January, when we’ll be in need of more stock.
Whilst the children return to school for a new term, Emmeline’s stepped up its preparations for Christmas. It takes months of planning and hard work from the volunteers to ensure we are prepared for all our upcoming events. Each month we will be appealing for something different, this month we have asked our supporters for new pyjamas for women and children. We all love that feeling of a cosy new pair of pyjamas at Christmas time, and we aim to give that to each and every woman and child who visits us.
In line with this, we have updated our Amazon Wishlist, which lists all the items we specifically need at the moment. It’s a really convenient way for supporters, both locally and further afield to donate to us. We appreciate every parcel that arrives here, and every item will go towards making Christmas extra special for a family.
September also saw a wonderful event, Mic Up Manchester, a live music event in Chorlton which raising money for Emmeline’s.
Our new addition arrived at Emmeline’s, a bench, kindly donated by Haslingden High School. We hope that it will encourage more people to sit and chat, although we may have to wait until the warmer weather arrives!
We expect this Autumn to be our busiest yet, as more local clients hear about us, we expand our service and we prepare for Christmas. Please look out on our Facebook page for our monthly appeals, every donation matters to us.
Along with the warm weather came our busiest period so far. Our volunteers continued to work hard to keep up with growing demand for the service, as well as starting to plan for our Christmas appeal (it’s never too early!). We added some new volunteers to the team, including our first male volunteer, Paddy.
Although we are still predominantly a women only service, we identified a need for the service for a small number of single fathers. For this reason we have introduced a mixed gender day, once a week. Single fathers can now be referred to us for food and toiletries.
In July, one of our supporters who works for the Body Shop, came in during service and offered a well deserved pamper session to clients, who could relax with a facial and hand massage after doing their shopping. What a wonderful way to treat our ladies who often put the needs of their families before their own.
July also saw our Dance Yourself Dizzy event, where volunteers an supporters danced to raise funds totalling £1,500. Everyone had fun and raised an incredible amount of money along the way. The money will go a long way towards supporting our women and preparing for what we expect to be our busiest Christmas so far.
May has been all about settling into our new surroundings. Both clients and volunteers got used to the new layout as we opened for service for the first time in the new building. We held an open coffee morning for our new Chorlton referees, as we brace ourselves for an increase in referrals. Once we felt we were used to our new routine, we successfully trialed opening the service for 3 days a week. This means an increase in the numbers we can accommodate and convenience for clients.
Towards the end of May, we were lucky enough to be gifted tickets to Geronimo Festival, a 2 day event geared towards families. Our supporters raised enough money to hire a coach to take our women and their families to the festival for the day, where they were able to watch shows, try out different sports and activities and listen to live music. The children had a wonderful day and it was amazing for the women to be able to take their children on a day out they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
As always, our supporters across the world have been busy raising funds for us. This month, the Deutsch Centre held a book exchange for German language speakers, with £71 raised and donated to Emmeline’s Pantry.
We keep our Amazon Wishlist on regularly up to date with things we are currently collecting. Go and have a look there for any ideas you’d like to gift us!