Christmas Box scheme appeal to help families in need enjoy a Christmas meal

A scheme which helped almost 1,000 Cornish families in need enjoy a proper Christmas meal last year has launched its appeal for 2019.

As the festive season comes closer, many of us will shop and prepare for a traditional Christmas dinner – but some families can’t afford to feed everyone properly on a normal day, let alone provide a feast for Christmas.

Last year volunteers at Cornwall Christmas Box helped almost 1,000 local families living in poverty to have a proper Christmas dinner by giving them a box of festive food.

An example of a Cornwlal Christmas Box - decoerted box, full of Christmas goodies, with a closeable lid

This year the Cornish charity wants to give even more families a happy Christmas – but they need help to do it.

Working in partnership with social workers from Cornwall Council’s Children’s Early Help, Social Care and Psychology Service team, Cornwall Christmas Box ensures that the boxes are given to those in the greatest need, including families with young carers, families who are escaping domestic abuse and those who use Family Centres.

Cornwall Christmas Box was set up by members of 3 Rivers Vineyard Church in 2002 to ensure that families living in extreme poverty could still enjoy a special meal at Christmas. Initially focused on a small number of families in the local area, the organisation has now grown to cover the whole of Cornwall.

‘For most people, Christmas is a time for giving, for enjoying the company of family and friends, for having a special meal, and celebrating,’ said Ben Tyler, pastor of 3 Rivers Vineyard Church.

‘But we know that some families in Cornwall don’t have enough money to feed everyone properly on a normal day, and so find Christmas especially hard.

‘We had an amazing response to our appeal last year, with almost 1,000 boxes of festive food donated by individuals, schools, businesses and organisations. The gifts made a huge difference to the families who received them, with many people in tears at the thought that someone cared about them.’

The charity is asking people to get together with their friends and neighbours, or their colleagues at work, to donate a box.

A full list of all the items needed for each box is available on the Cornwall Christmas Box website – the total cost is around £35-£40, if regular items are donated – ‘luxury’ versions, and additional items such as Christmas crackers can be added, to make Christmas extra special.

The charity has already organised 25 collection points across Cornwall to ensure that everyone can access a local site to donate their boxes.

However they are still looking for storage space for the boxes, and for volunteers, including people with vans, to help collect the boxes and drop them off where they are needed.

Anyone who could help should contact the charity at

This year’s collection day will be Thursday December 5, and details of the collection points, together with other information about the scheme, is available on the website


** While many generous people donate boxes, this is as much an information post so that charities working with impoverished families can know that this scheme exists.  There is a possibility that Cornwall Christmas Box could deliver boxes to individual charities or community groups, to distribute to those they work with.  Last year, Food for Families in Penzance, the Salvation Army in St Ives, and the Noah Project in Newquay received boxes, in addition to the ones distributed via the Council.  Contact the email address above if you would be interested.