Santa Claus in the Crown is a charity campaign aimed at fulfilling the dreams of children who have not been spared by fate so far. The wards of orphanages and foster families don’t have many reasons to smile, but thanks to the generosity of donors, they can find the gifts of their dreams under the Christmas tree. The next edition of the Christmas campaign launches on December 1, and GentleWoman POLAND is proud to join it as media patron.

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How did the crowned Santa Claus action come about?

The Santa Claus in the Crown plot came about quite by accident during the SARS CoV2 pandemic, when everyone was sitting locked in their homes for fear of the virus. Social isolation has contributed to children embarking on remote learning, remaining completely cut off from their peers. Isolation also extended to most of the economy, causing many companies to close. The result of this situation was that the sponsors who had previously funded small Christmas gifts for the children had to withdraw. At the time, the prospect of the upcoming Christmas holidays did not inspire optimism.

On one of the Facebook groups, an educator from the Zalnie facility published a post asking if anyone would like to prepare small gifts for her pupils. Gifts in the form of puzzles or books did not exceed the amount of PLN 100. So she was approached by one of the organizers, Marta, and promised to take care of finding volunteers. It wasn’t difficult at all, as the quickly disseminated threads resulted in many takers among friends, including. Ola.

Children’s smiles not only on holidays

After some quick thinking, the two said they could ask other establishments if they wanted Christmas packages for the children. Later that day, they received a list of about a hundred children from Warsaw orphanages. So the first idea was to create a Facebook event, but within just a few hours there was growing interest not only from friends, but also from strangers wanting to help. This is how the crowned Santa Claus was born. There was so much work in the first week that Kasia also joined them.

Santa in a crown
Photo: www.mikolajwkoronie.pl

The three of them operated on such a large scale that they managed to find donors for 1,080 children from all over Poland during their first Christmas campaign. Following the lead, another “Crown for Moms” campaign was created back in January, which managed to provide the most necessary products for women and children staying in single mother’s homes. This included not only clothes and toys, but also hygiene items and food.

Crowned Santa isn’t just about helping out at Christmas

The year also saw campaigns to celebrate Easter, Children’s Day and help prepare school kits. As it turns out, children in institutions have really small dreams. Depending on the age, these include blocks, wireless headphones or new bedding. For the average Smith, it may be something he has long overlooked and having it seems obvious to him. However, it should be remembered that children who end up in orphanages very often have nothing or are admitted with a small bag. They share toys or clothes with others, they lack cosmetics and their own corner. That’s why the Santa Claus in the Crown campaign wants to support them not only from Christmas.

What do children dream about?

“It’s definitely easier to gift young children who just want to receive toys. It’s harder for teenagers to find donors, and it’s worth remembering that they often stay in the facility longer and don’t have anything of their own,” says Tomek, who has already joined the organizers for the next Christmas campaign. Thanks to the generosity of donors, it is possible to provide them not only with basic needs in the form of clothes and cosmetics, but also to help make their Christmas dreams come true. There are even times when wards ask for DIY equipment or hairdressing accessories to help them learn a trade. There have also been several occasions when donors have had the opportunity to prepare packages with items to help the oldest children start their adulthood and move into their own.

Santa in a crown
Photo: www.mikolajwkoronie.pl

Currently, the campaign brings together thousands of people who want to make children’s dreams come true. “Santa’s Family,” as the organizers call it, is very active, and with each successive action they collectively manage to bestow more and more children. So far, they have sent nearly 15,000 packages in less than four years. In addition to private donors, companies are also coming forward to offer their help. Among them are toy manufacturer Mattel, Decathlon or Poland’s largest publishers, including. Wilga, Black Sheep and Benito. However, there are many more and it is impossible to list them.

Celebrity support: Zborowska, Mrozinska, Bieniuk

“The very moment we announce the recruitment of facilities, the first donors who want to endow entire houses come forward. In this way, we distribute up to several hundred children even before the campaign begins in earnest,” says Kasia, who is responsible for contacting the establishments. This year, at the time of publication of the article, there are nearly 300 houses reported. However, the organizers are of good cheer, as celebrities known from the front pages of newspapers are also helping to publicize the event: Agnieszka Mrozinska, the band Pectus, Jaroslaw Bieniuk, Marek Sekielski and Radoslaw Matusiak.

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Preparing any action is a long and time-consuming process. This is not just a time around Christmas. “We are already preparing for the Christmas campaign around September. We are preparing rules and regulations, application forms, networking with celebrities and influencers, recruiting outlets and actively managing our social media. With all this work, we manage to increase our reach year after year, and thus endow more children,” – Marta says.

How to take part in the action?

To take part in the campaign as a donor, just go to Facebook Santa Claus in the Crown, and then select the child you want to give a gift to from the list. Those willing write the name of the selected child in the comments, and then prepare a gift for him or her. If there are any doubts or additional questions, you can contact the facilities directly, where educators and caregivers will be happy to help. A greeting card should be included in the package. It is also important that each share is subject to a quota limit. The organizers want the gifts to be fair to all the children, so they are usually within the amount of PLN 100-150.

The Santa Claus in the Crown campaign differs from others primarily in that the organizers do not broker the shipment of packages, do not do auctions where they raise money and do not accept wire transfers to purchase gifts. Donors send packages directly addressed to the children. In most cases, mentees later call to thank them or send thank-you notes on handmade cards. All this means that there are more and more people willing to help.

Action that grabs the heart

Before Christmas itself, the organizers always check the condition of the packages to make sure that all of them arrive on time and every child finds a dream gift under the Christmas tree. Photos of the handover of the packages are then posted on Facebook and Instagram. Children’s smiles can melt the heart of even the biggest tough guy. Many donors also choose to bring the packages in person to the facilities. In this way, they can see first-hand how children live. Among those who decided to make such a gesture were Civic Platform politicians Witold Szpur and Tomasz Kostecki, who went to visit children from Walbrzych last year. What they saw on the ground made them decide to help on a much larger scale this year. However, there are many more such people, and most of the donors who took part in the first organized action continue the tradition every year now.

Hard work all year round

The Santa Claus in the Crown campaign is run by a group of four friends completely pro bono. They sacrifice their free time between work and family to help others. However, in addition to their hard work, it is worth remembering that a great deal of credit should also be given to donors and help in the form of hanging posters promoting the campaign or sharing posts. “We are also currently collecting. We plan to use all the funds raised for the creation of our website, virtual data storage or advertising on the Internet.” – Ola mentions.

The organizers have far-reaching plans for the ongoing campaign, which are not limited to just a few events held each year. They believe that with the support of so many wonderful people, they will be able to achieve them in the near future. The editors of GentleWoman POLAND will be watching closely and actively supporting them. After all, the slogan TOGETHER WE CAN DO MORE in this case fits perfectly!

UDOSTĘPNIJ

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