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In a nutshell
Operation Rudolph – an initiative that has been running in Nottingham since 2002, delivering good quality Christmas hampers to disadvantaged families and individuals.
Who has done it?
More than 200 volunteers from churches across Watford, Hertfordshire.
Why do it?
As a way to bring all the churches in Watford together to do something practical to bless the community and to bring some unexpected joy and hope to those in need.
How did it work?
The previous December a small group visited Operation Rudolph in Nottingham to see how it all worked and to pick up some vital tips on how to co-ordinate the project. A short DVD was made from their visit to be shown at church services from October onwards to share the vision and let people know how they could get involved. Volunteers were required to help pack the hampers as well as distribute them, and church members were also asked to sponsor a hamper for £25 (or to join together with members of their cell group to cover the cost). Goods were gathered ranging from staple foods to Christmas treats, and the 400 boxes were made up by 200 volunteers over two sessions. Each volunteer signed a card to wish the recipients a happy Christmas. The Operation Rudolph organisers contacted the local council and other organisations such as a local homeless charity to find the people who would most benefit from receiving a hamper.
Rev Chris Cottee, who led the project, said,
’It has just been amazing to see how people from so many different churches, businesses and agencies have worked together to make this happen. The atmosphere on the production line was cheerful and the comments coming back from recipients are truly inspiring. We’re planning an even bigger project for next year now!’
Erica Tuxworth, newly appointed pastor at the Woodside Church of the Nazarene said,
‘The response we got from people was tremendous. They were overwhelmed, tearful and invited us in for tea and cake. One man asked who the hamper was for thinking it was being given to someone else and when we told him it was for him he said, “No one's ever given me anything before.” There were genuinely lovely stories and the volunteers came back emotional and blessed themselves.’
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