“Anyone in the community who wants to help us and provide a happier to Christmas for these children, can come to us at Refood, take one of these letters, see the children’s wishes and provide one of the requests”, said Carlos Reis, one of the coordinators, to Lusa News Agency in Faro from the institution, which collects and distributes surplus meals from restaurants, and also those made by volunteers.

Refood will “keep in touch” with whoever takes the letter and once they have the gift it will be stored for later delivery to the children.

The idea emerged in lockdown, when the voluntary movement took food baskets to the families’ homes and came across children who “were delirious with a box of cereal”, Paula Matias, also acoordinator for two years, said to Lusa.
Paula Matias said that what has touched her most was the fact that some of the children were very modest in their requests, with some even asking simply for “happiness and health”.

“Not only to provide joy to these children, but also comfort to parents, because in the situation they are currently in, they can’t, in any way, give that joy to their children and we try to help, so that they have a more dignified Christmas”, she highlighted.

It was through a friend that Catarina Anastácio and Luísa Cabrita learned about the initiative and decided to help by contributing to a “good Christmas, with sharing, food, gifts and happiness”, as Luísa pointed out.

“We don’t have a lot of money, but we have more than some people and I think we can contribute and give to those who have less” said Catarina.

Carina Ataíde is one of the people supported by the institution, she told Lusa that this is the second Christmas that she has received support. Aware of the difficulties, their two children “already know that it is not possible” to have Christmas gifts. “They don’t ask… because they know it’s difficult”, she lamented.

Assuming that “it is complicated” for a mother to be unable to respond to her children’s requests this Christmas season, Carina stressed that the food support she receives allows her to channel the money towards the outstanding things that “are yet to pay”.

The orders collected by Refood range from wishes for happiness or a basket of food to toys, musical instruments and second hand mobile phones.