Your charity gift could make a difference: Jess’ story

Wednesday 01 November 2023
Mother with daughter in pyjamas

Each year, we ask you to be a charity Secret Santa. We do this to help put the magic back into Christmas for vulnerable children like Jess.

Meet Jess

11-year-old Jess is a young person supported by Action for Children. She lives with her mum, Sarah. Sarah is is a single mum who suffers from complex health issues. But Jess has stood by her side and helped her with the jobs she can’t do like, cooking meals and supporting her through hospital admissions.

Although she’s taken it in her stride, the enormity of everything really hit her during the pandemic. It was an awful time for her. She had so much on her shoulders for a little girl.

Sarah, Jess' mum

How Action for Children helped

When Sarah's health worsened, she had no choice but to give up work. This made the cost-of-living crisis even more difficult, especially as her condition meant it was vital to keep her home warm. Thankfully, Action for Children were there to help.

Sarah said: “The support worker went above and beyond to support us both. She was there for emotional support and also making sure that we could pay our bills and eat. Without my wages covering the food and electricity bills, my biggest concern was heating the home and feeding us.”

Thank you to our Secret Santas

The cost-of-living crisis and increased food and energy bills make the winter months particularly difficult for families like Sarah and Jess. But thanks to the incredible generosity of our Secret Santas, we can continue to be there for them when no one else is.

Action for Children have just blown me away with the enormity of their support. The difference it’s made has been incredible.


We’re there when families can’t afford the basics. We top up the gas meter when the house feels cold. Put food on the table so no one goes hungry. Buy a Christmas present when a parent can’t. We’re a lifeline for desperate families with nowhere to turn. But none of this would be possible without the generosity of our Secret Santas and their charity Christmas donations.

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With your help, we could give a vulnerable child a hot meal or a warm coat

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Christmas for Jess & her mum

Last Christmas, we gave Jess’ mum vouchers for food and presents. This meant they could have a Christmas dinner and Sarah could afford to buy the Christmas gift Jess had always wanted – her very own yoghurt and ice cream maker.

Sarah and Jess also got a surprise hamper packed with Christmas treats like mince pies, a Christmas pudding, and vouchers for fresh food.

For Sarah, “Action for Children made our Christmas magical. I’d also just come out of hospital so to receive all those gifts and food vouchers was extra special, and Jess was over the moon about her ice cream maker.”

Jess with ice cream maker

Jess with her ice cream maker

This support put the magic back into Christmas for Sarah and Jess. But it also brought joy to Jess long after the Christmas holidays ended.

Jess said: “I’ve always wanted an ice cream maker so I was really excited when mum said I could have it for Christmas. I know Action for Children made it happen. Mum calls them Guardian Angels because they’re always there for us. I feel like we have the best support workers because I know I can always talk to them about anything.”

This year, we have teamed up with Jess to design a charity Christmas bauble. The money raised through the bauble's sales will go towards our Secret Santa campaign so we can continue to help children like Jess. We could them with warm clothes, a hot meal or a Christmas present they'll always remember.

Decorate your tree with a charity Christmas bauble

Buy one of our limited edition baubles and become a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child

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The impact of Secret Santa

Last year, your generous support helped us be there for 765,905 children, young people and families in the UK. Thanks to your kindness we could reach children like Jess and her mum Sarah.

Sadly, we’re seeing more children suffering. More families at breaking point. But we also see the incredible difference your support makes. You could help a vulnerable child like Jess by donating to our Christmas appeal and becoming a charity Secret Santa. Your gift could buy the essentials of warm clothes, a hot meal, or a special present just for them.

Childhood is short and precious. There isn’t long to make happy memories. But with your support we could help a vulnerable child feel the magic of Christmas – a magic that will last a lifetime.

Be a Secret Santa

Many children will wake up on Christmas to no stockings. No presents. No festive food. Your gift could change this.

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