Bring the gift of a smile this Christmas
Generous donors will bring smiles to the faces of around 600 underprivileged youngsters in Luxembourg this St Nicolas when they receive a special present as part of the Gifts for Kids scheme.
Coordinated by the American Women's Club Luxembourg (AWCL) since 1996, the project allows each child from a "foyer" to select a toy or voucher they would like.
The present and price are then written onto one of 1,687 hand-made Christmas decorations which are displayed on Christmas trees in a handful of sponsor companies or associations for people to make a donation.
Once a donation is made, the gifts will be sorted by supermarket Cactus and each present will be accompanied with a card made by schoolchildren from St George's International School.
“They (the children) don't know who is giving the gift; it's supposed to be from St Nicolas. We're the little elves working behind the scenes,” AWCL president Connie Gomez told wort.lu/en during the project's launch.
Key to the project is the support of the scores of sponsors who host trees in their offices and encourage people to get involved. New sponsors this year include Sunflower Montessori Crèche, UPC DTH, Solideal International, and Altisource.
Samantha Stobart O'Dea of Sunflower Montessori told wort.lu/en: “There are a lot of privileged children here and I think it's really important for children to understand charity and helping others and that's part of the Montessori philosophy.”
In the past the project operated under the Toys for Tots title and saw US marines deliver the gifts to the foyers. This year, however, it will be the members of the AWCL who deliver the toys or vouchers in time for December 6, or the festival of Saint Nicolas.
The project is closely supported by US Ambassador to Luxembourg Robert A Mandell who, in 2011, helped deliver the gifts to children in foyers, prompting an ongoing painting project between the ambassador and the children.
Ambassador Mandell said: “I met a group of kids at Kannerland. I saw the cutest kids I've ever seen and I said 'I would like to do something for these kids'. That's how this whole painting project began. I feel I owe a lot to the programme and it really helps children who wouldn't otherwise be helped.”