A dedicated fundraiser’s goal to alleviate child poverty is for life – not just for Christmas.

Margaret Williams MBE is the proud organiser of North Wales Superkids, which has been collecting and distributing new gifts to children from families living on the breadline since 1999.

Margaret’s heart went out at Christmas time as she spoke of the “excessive” number of deprived families supported during the last 13 years of her 33-year career in social care across Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham and Conway.

She told the Leader: “When I retired in 1999, it wasn’t a statutory requirement for social services to supply gifts at Christmas since jobs changed and boundaries changed.

“So I thought, right, the need is definitely there, I’ve got like-minded friends – and it’s grown and grown.”

In a letter of appeal to business and sponsors across the region, Margaret wrote: “The most important date in any youngster’s diary is Christmas Day. A day when the home rings with excitement, the aroma from the dinner eagerly awaited and general goodwill flowing in abundance.

“Sadly this is scene that is getting depressingly less every year. We are not a poor country, yet the level of child poverty is abysmal.

“Every year, there’s a growing number of families who will not even be able to give their youngsters a basic Christmas, no decorations, no tree, and certainly no presents.”

Throughout the festive build up, the Leader kept up with Margaret’s  progress in acquiring unopened games, toys, crafts, and cosmetics which she would match to an application form filled in by social workers who requested Superkid’s services for a particular child.

Margaret and her team of elves then spent up until Christmas Eve sifting through the piles of donations, and sorted them into specifically tailored sacks for the most deserving youngsters.

The former social worker, however, is not stopping now the festive season is over. Instead, she’s busy putting her time and effort into other projects to boost the young lives of North Wales.

The new Superkids unit in a disused warehouse on Raikes Lane, in Mold, was stocked high and brimmed with gifts just a few weeks ago.

Now, the shelves stand bare as Margaret begins once again on her next round of toy appeals and digging for grants to fund the running costs of the organisation.

Margaret reflected on her 18th year distributing toys to children, and the first year the team had a storeroom big enough to house the tens of thousands of gifts.

She said: “It’s been a very, very good year for us. We are loving this place, as we could not have coped with the amount of people this year otherwise.

“Normally, we have around 19 agencies asking for our service, but this year there were 31.

“To have a heads-up start has been one hell of a help. The need for us is never going to go away.

“When we first started, we sent out presents to around 200 kids. That was a lot smaller then. It consisted of a selection box, a cuddly toy, a game and a craft. Now it’s good we’ve mixed the bags around with what we can afford.

“At the beginning of the bag packing time, we don’t know how much is going to be on the shelves.

“I wonder, am I being too generous, could I afford a bit more? So we just bag up and hope for the best.”

According to Margaret, who accepted an MBE for her community efforts, 95 per cent of families they help do not know who Superkids are.

Margaret said: “Well, why would it make a difference if the family knew? It’s not about us.

“As long as the children have something to open on Christmas morning, as long as their parents or carers don’t end up depressed or in debt, and can provide a Christmas with our help.”

In a bid to pursue their selfless cause, Margaret and her team will utilise the next 11 months to hunt for funding, and to raise as much cash as they can through various events.

One heartwarming project
Margaret smiles about is her appeal for Creme Eggs by the thousand, which are then placed inside hand-knitted chickens and sold at various venues across North Wales.

Margaret said: “I’m asking for as many creme eggs as I can find. Then one of our helpers, from Mynydd Isa, knits around 1,600 little chickens, which are then sent to Bodelwyddan on a sort of production line where their little beaks are put on, before being sent to Abergele or Colwyn Bay for their eyes fitted, and then back to Bodelwyddan where they are handed out to me.

“The cheapest creme eggs for us to buy are around 30p, so for every one donated by someone else, that’s a pound for Superkids.”

Sold at £1 each, the little chickens represent the year-round effort of the dedicated team of volunteers and the extent of their detail in supplying for the community.

Margaret is aiming for 3,000 creme eggs this year, which will raise vital funds for up-keeping their Superkids caravan in Pwllheli.

Since last October, the charity has given away 20 free holidays in the disabled-adapted caravan in Hafan y Môr for families in crisis.

With the help of Children in Need, the therapeutic breaks allow children to “do silly things, and be children,” according to Maragaret.

For some terminally ill children, this will be “the first and last holiday as a family and a chance to create positive memories for when the dark days come.”

Last year, Margaret teamed up with the Women’s Aid refuge in Rhyl, and offered holidays for children affected by domestic violence “time to breathe from the aggro at home.”

But she added: “We are always looking for other fundraising ideas. One of our team has been to a funding surgery so if there’s funding out there, we need to have plans to get it.

“People can help all year round. Now especially is the time people get over Christmas, and say: ‘I’ve had another set of cosmetics that I’m going to shove in the back of the drawer and collect dust.’ Well I want those smellies. We can recycle presents for a good cause.

“We never say ‘no’ to anything and we welcome any donation because even if it can’t be distributed to children, our team can sell it on our various tombolas and stalls throughout the year.”

Margaret is also appealing to businesses and supermarkets for the seasonal stock “sitting wasted in storage,” as she can begin collecting and re-organising festive goods ready for Superkids Christmas 2018.

For further information, visit www.northwalessuperkids.co.uk