It’s typical for young children to be preoccupied this time of the year, making lists, and checking them twice, worrying about who is naughty or nice. All except for one little girl from Darkley who has her sights set on – not receiving presents – but giving them.
Six-year-old Jessica-Lee Davidson has been working with her mum, Orlena over the last few weeks to build gift-wrapped shoe boxes which she hopes will put smiles on the faces of the homeless in Belfast.
For the last four weeks Jessica-Lee has unfortunately been unable to attend school due to ongoing health issues, but – unperturbed – her creative mind has remained hard at work.
Mum Orlena said: “She just came up to me out of the blue one day a few weeks ago and said she wanted to help the homeless. I couldn’t believe it, that she had just come to this idea all on her own. Of course, I wanted to support her idea!
“I was just so glad to see her coming forward saying she wanted to do this. She’s putting half of her things into boxes for someone else and it just makes me so proud.
“It’s something, I myself, have always wanted to do but I never mentioned it and to see her saying it herself – that she wanted to help – I knew we had to.”
So far, with mum’s help, Jessica-Lee has made up four shoe boxes with two curated for men and two for women.
Full of excitement, Jessica-Lee described the boxes: “The ones for girls have deodorant, sweets, things to cut their toenails, a hairbrush, gloves, hats and socks and the boys get the same but different colours and a different deodorant and no hairbrush! We wrapped them all up in grinch wrapping paper.”
She continued: “It makes me feel happy and kind.”
Mum, Orlena has been the funding behind the operation but is only too happy to oblige. She said: “If it comes to £10, what’s £10 to help someone else who needs it? Times are tough enough for everyone but we want to do what we can to help.”
The duo are now ready to make their first delivery and already have two people in mind whom they wish to receive boxes.
“We have plans to ramp up a bit more before Christmas too. We would like to do a few more boxes and possibly bring sleeping bags out too,” continued Orlena.
Listening in the background, the ever-benevolent Jessica-Lee interjected: “Mummy, I would also like to get an air-mattress for people to make it comfy and soft.”
Out of the mouth of babes; Jessica-Lee, in all her innocence, embodies the true spirit of Christmas.