17 December 2021

Residents treated to an early Christmas tradition  

Opening their front doors on 6th December, each of our residents discovered they’d been treated to gifts from St Nicholas – famous for his kindness – and traditionally celebrated by children across parts of Europe.  

The surprise gifts were thanks to the hard work of our German intern, Amelia.  

“As a child I always had to polish my shoes on the 5th of December to then find some sweets and treats in them on the next morning. I always really enjoyed it as a kid and even more now, because it’s not about big, expensive presents, but about bringing someone a little joy. And I like that it’s done secretly, so the giver of the presents doesn’t boast about their generosity and the receiver gets the sweets as a surprise. 

This is also why I wanted to do it for the residents. It’s just a nice way of improving someone’s morning and showing them that you think of them. And as Jesus put it: “Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8), so I felt like giving my time into a little initiative that just brings joy to the residents was just the right thing to do.” 

Blessing our young people with shoe boxes and hampers 

None of our YMCA Exeter community will miss out on gifts or yummy food this Christmas, thanks to the generous support from Rediscover church and the Exeter University student society, Just Love.  

Over 56 shoe boxes were wrapped and packed with special gifts and will be delivered to our residents by the Just Love team in time for Christmas.  

And another 100 plus food hampers, donated by Rediscover church have been hand-delivered to our residents across our supported accommodation in Exeter, families and single households in South Molton, families and single households across Broadclyst, and YMCA Exeter volunteers. 

We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and are so thankful that none of our community will go without this year.  

Hannah Gundry, from Just Love, shares about the team’s involvement:  

“It was amazing to see how God worked through the event as we had intended to make 56 boxes but went over. As it turned out, the extra boxes were also needed but we weren’t aware of that at the time. We chose to do the gift boxes this year because we felt that it was a brilliant way to share God’s love and presence by giving what we could, especially as Christmas is a reminder that God loves everyone.”