Maaret Alaranta: Gift vouchers for food bring Christmas to many families
Christmas tends to be the biggest celebration of the year for Finns, filled with presents, decorations, music and food. “In our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy” says the song. However, not all families feast around the holidays.
Poverty affects some 110,000 children in Finland. Although the economy has improved, many families with children continue to struggle, and recent statistics show that poverty among families with children is on the rise.
Childhood poverty resonates later in life
The foundation for a good life is formed during childhood. A constant lack of means can affect a person’s life as a child and also later on. Children often make friends through hobbies - if the family cannot afford hobbies, the child may lack social connections.
Research also shows that teenagers of underprivileged families have less friends, and experience more bullying.
Being underprivileged is therefore not just about not having money, and this is why we should ensure sufficient and easily accessible services for families for support. We can all take part in creating safe and secure communities and neighbourhoods.
Christmas dinners for 28,000 families
There are many ways we can spread joy and bring welfare to others at Christmas. The Hyvä Joulumieli (‘Good Holiday Spirit’) Christmas fundraising campaign organised by the Finnish Red Cross, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare and the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE aims to bring joy to families with children and put food on their tables. Some 28,000 underprivileged families will receive 70 euro gift cards this year to buy food for Christmas, making the season more festive.
Wishing you all a good holiday spirit,
Coordinator, Social Welfare
Finnish Red Cross
K Group supports the Hyvä Joulumieli campaign again this year.