Gran’s festive boost for families who are struggling to make ends meet

Vulnerable families are set for a festive boost, thanks to the efforts of a Johnstone gran.

Jennifer McDade admits shopping for needy residents with cash raised after raffling her grandson’s unused Christmas gift, gave her “goose pimples”.

She decided to offer a brand-new bike to raise vital funds for charity Families First Johnstone, who offer festive packages to vulnerable locals.

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Jen took decisive action after realising that gifts and supplies collected by the organisation for families in need were well down on the donations supplied in previous years.

She told the Express: “When I went over a week past on Saturday to drop off donations, I could see they didn’t have as much as they have in the past.

“It just didn’t sit right with me, so I just thought about it and I was thinking ‘I need to do something’.”

And Slimming World consultant Jen soon hit on an idea to help out. She added: “I had my grandson’s Paw Patrol bike that I bought for him last Christmas. I ended up quite poorly with covid, so his mum and dad bought him another bike and my intention was to take that one back in January and get him something for the garden.

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“But I didn’t manage to take it back in January because I was still unwell, so that was that.”

Instead, the 47-year-old decided to raffle off the bike and use the cash to help Families First.

She said: “It went really well, within five days I had just over £500 and that was only from friends, family and Johnstone slimming members.”

Jen put her plan into action and went shopping this week with Katrina Little of Families First, to buy goods to boost their appeal.

Continued Jen: “We had £500 worth of toys, hats, scarves, gloves, a whole mixture of things for families, who get a bag, so it’s stocking fillers, family games, that sort of thing.

“Both of us were so emotional when we filled up the car and saw what was in there.

“It gave me goose pimples.”

Katrina Little of Families First Johnstone, commended Jennifer’s efforts, saying: “Jennifer was absolutely amazing, I can’t thank her enough. Every year we do a toy collection for Families First, we work with Johnstone Business Consortium, and last year Jennifer came with about 50 bags!

“This year when she came she could see there wasn’t as much, we didn’t do very well and I understand that because a lot of families are really struggling but I could see Jennifer’s face just fell and a couple of hours later she messaged me and said she wanted to raffle this bike.”

She added: “Jennifer has honestly been amazing.”

Families First branches help residents in their area and accept referrals from agencies including health visitors as well as self-referrals.

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Daily Record – Paisley