BookTrust's Christmas appeal: Brenda's story

Published on: 07 November 2023

The Arc Centre is a community centre in Islington which received festive book parcels from BookTrust last Christmas. We asked food bank coordinator Brenda to share what it meant to her to be able to give books to children in her community.

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My name's Brenda and I'm the food bank coordinator at The Arc Centre. At the moment we're feeding up to 100 households every week — and 60% of those are families. So my role is a very busy one!

Bring joy to children this Christmas with the magic of books

When I first joined, it was wonderful when some families found they didn't need our help anymore. We were so happy things had changed for the better and, of course, it meant we'd be able to support another family who needed us.

But this has stopped happening. Now we have a static waiting list and it breaks my heart. In Islington, nearly half of all children are living in poverty. And it's only getting worse.

As food bank coordinator, my priority is to make sure we have enough food for our families, but we know parents are already worrying about Christmas. Too many might not have any presents for their children. This is where BookTrust comes in.

BookTrust delivers our festive book parcels in early December. It's always an exciting day when they arrive! Even the timing is significant as it means we can give them to parents sooner, taking away some of their worries. It means they know they'll have something for their children to open on Christmas Day. And they're always so delighted — I don't think they expect the book parcels to be so lovely.

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Share the magic of books with children who need it most

A photo of food bank parcels at The Ark with a copy of The Gruffalo Carousel Book

At the food bank, staff and volunteers often talk about how much we love reading. It makes you realise it's something you just take for granted. When you think that some children might not have a book to call their own, it's just devastating.

As a child learns to read and enjoy books, they can take themselves away from everything. For some, being able to find a quiet corner and curl up with a book can be a lifeline.

They can discover the magic of books and get lost in it. For others, it's a chance to spend much-needed quality time with their parents. It's a shared experience that gives you that nice, warm, cosy feeling in your own home.

I believe that reading should be for everybody. I worry if children don't have books at home they'll never know what it feels like to lose themselves in a story or experience the comfort reading can bring. To be able to give a child a beautiful, brand new book, just for them, is really special.

Please donate today to help make sure more children wake up to the magic of books this Christmas. Thank you.

Donate today to share the magic of books

Thank you for helping children discover the magic of books

This Christmas we delivered 17,000 festive book parcels, reaching more children than ever before.

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