At Christmas time, the Red Cross helps low-income families with children who have fled to Finland

Photo: Ville Palonen / Suomen Punainen Risti

At Christmas time, the Finnish Red Cross provides food vouchers to families with children who receive reception services, as well as children and young people who have arrived in the country alone and are also covered by reception services. Undocumented families are helped as well. The food vouchers complement other forms of help provided by the Red Cross to families with children in Finland at Christmas time.

“The increase in living costs is making life difficult for many families living in Finland. Children and families fleeing their native country due to war or some other crisis are also in a vulnerable position because their safety networks in a new environment are poor,” says Social Welfare Coordinator Maaret Alaranta from the Finnish Red Cross.

The food vouchers provided to recipients of reception services and undocumented immigrants are acquired with funds from the Disaster Relief Fund of the Finnish Red Cross.

They supplement the assistance that the Red Cross arranges for low-income families with children in Finland through the Good Holiday Spirit collection. Good Holiday Spirit is a collection effort organised by the Red Cross and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare with the purpose of providing food vouchers to low-income families with children in Finland.

“This year, there is an even larger number of families with children living in a difficult situation than before, as a very large proportion of the people fleeing the crisis in Ukraine are children and their parents. In general, poverty among families with children has rapidly increased in Finland. With funds from the Disaster Relief Fund of the Finnish Red Cross, we can increase our assistance in this difficult situation and provide more children and families with a food voucher,” Alaranta explains.

The value of the food vouchers provided by the Red Cross to families is equal to that of the vouchers handed out in the Good Holiday Spirit collection, €70.

The Disaster Relief Fund is used for acquiring roughly 7,700 food vouchers for families with children who receive reception services or are undocumented, as well as children and young people who have arrived in the country without a guardian and receive reception services.

Reception centres and districts of the Red Cross take care of distributing the vouchers, and vouchers are provided to clients of reception centres maintained by the Red Cross and other operators alike. 

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