Charities have launched their humanitarian actions for the festive season.

While Christmas most often brings to mind large family meals, chocolates from the Advent calendar or even the tree and gifts, it is also an opportunity to come together and show solidarity with those who will not be able to enjoy the festivities. This is why charities, who are busy throughout the year, step up their efforts even more for the end of year celebrations and invite everyone to join in.

Gift boxes for the homeless and students in need

This operation gets more popular as the years go by: the aim is to take a shoebox, wrap it, and slip inside several small gifts: something warm (like gloves or a hat), something tasty (non-perishable and that does not need to be cooked), an occupation (like a book or a puzzle book), a beauty product (mark the box for male or female) and a kind word.

For the second year in a row, this Christmas box operation is being organised by the Semeurs d’Espoir Monaco, which helps out the needy and the homeless.  Monaco Humanitarian Aid, which supports students in difficulty, is joining in this year.  Gift boxes will therefore be distributed to needy families and students.

It is important to bring this love and sincerity, through a gesture that is a little different from what we do the rest of the year

Floréal Franch, president and co-founder of Semeurs d’Espoir

For a month and a half, the charities have been collecting shoe boxes, supplied by Capucine, Courir, Kappa and Aldo stores. They can be picked up at 3 rue Princesse Caroline. Once decorated and filled, they should be handed in before December 19 at the entrance to the Monaco Carrefour store in Fontvieille. In 2020, nearly fifty boxes were collected and then distributed in Nice and Menton. Monaco City Hall supported the operation by donating chocolates and cuddly toys.

Floréal Franch, president and co-founder of Semeurs d’Espoir, feels this approach is particularly important in the run-up to the end of year festivities: “[Christmas] is a period that really underlines how excluded people in need are. They don’t get to be with family. It is therefore important to tell them “we have thought of you at Christmas”. It is important to bring this love and sincerity, through a gesture that is a little different from what we do the rest of the year “.

“A light for Christmas”

The Monaco Red Cross and Fight Aids Monaco also provide daily support to the most disadvantaged. But for the end of year celebrations, these two charities, in partnership with Monaco City Hall, are organising “Une lumière pour Noël’ (A light for Christmas), for the second year.

Since November 29, an online platform is available to collect donations that will be passed on to the Monegasque Red Cross and Fight Aids Monaco. Each donation will turn on a small light on the platform’s virtual tree.

Monaco Red-Cross Christmas
© Frédéric Nebinger

Banners have also been placed at the foot of the Christmas Village tree. Visitors can scan the QR Code on the banners to access the donation site. “The goal is for the tree to be fully lit,” explains Danièle Cottalorda, communications manager for the Red Cross.

For the first time this year, screen-printed Christmas baubles and cookies will be on sale at a price of 4 euros each at the Dubai Pavilion stand in the Christmas village, as well as at the headquarters of the two organising charities. “It’s an opportunity to treat yourself, or to treat someone else,” adds Chloé Barranco, from Fight Aids Monaco.

Again, Christmas is an important time: “Christmas is a sad time for people who are alone or destitute, while Christmas is a time for joy.  People are in particular need of comfort, even if the Red Cross is supportive all year round,” emphasises Danièle Cottalorda.

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