The Good Holiday Spirit fundraising campaign gives joy to thousands of children in need and their parents

Photo: VIlle Salminen / Suomen Punainen Risti

The Good Holiday Spirit gift cards for food have been distributed to families in need all over Finland. The success of the campaign shows that people want to help others when times are hard.

The Good Holiday Spirit fundraising campaign arranged by the Finnish Red Cross and the Mannerheim League of Child Welfare has spread joy in 21,000 families of limited means by providing gift cards of EUR 70. The cards have been delivered in cooperation with local child health clinics, social services and churches.

‘The fundraising has gone well, which shows that when times are tough, people are alert to the needs of others around them. We are grateful that so many have wanted to help a family they don’t even know,’ says Finnish Red Cross social welfare coordinator Maaret Alaranta.

‘For many families, financial difficulties are beginning to kick in now, when large electricity bills must be paid, and the extra expenses around Christmas cause people to worry about how they will manage.’

We are grateful that so many have wanted to help a family they don’t even know.
Maaret Alaranta

The steep rise in the cost of living has significantly increased child poverty. More than one in ten children live in a family in need.

The situation is particularly difficult in single-parent families and in households with unemployment. More and more often, the temporary or part-time jobs of a carer are not enough to cover essential costs.

Gift cards delivered through a large network of cooperation

Both private citizens and businesses have taken part in the Good Holiday Spirit collection. For many, the annual fundraiser has become a tradition. This year was the 26th year of the Good Holiday Spirit campaign.

‘We want to give a very warm Thank You to all donors, volunteers and our large network of collaborators. The help in identifying families in need that we get from local child health clinics, social services, municipal immigration services and the outreach work of churches has been important, particularly this year, when the number of children in need has grown,’ says Alaranta.

The Good Holiday Spirit campaign, which began on November 17, was arranged in cooperation with the Finnish broadcasting company Yle. Partners of the fundraising campaign are S Group grocery stores, Lidl, and K grocery stores.

Over the years, donations to the Good Holiday Spirit campaign have resulted in a total of 358,500 gift cards or vouchers for food being distributed to families with children in need.