Every child deserves warm memories of good times and gifts during the St. Nicholas feast. Aartsen Kids Foundation (AKF) want to help parents who have trouble making ends meet to indulge their kids on December the 5th. - St. Nicholas – a day traditionally celebrated by families across the Netherlands with sweet treats and gifts. The St. Nicholas Project was established to ensure 'St. Nicholas' visits these children too, so they can go to school the next day with a present in their hand and a smile on their face. Aartsen will be donating its proceeds from this year's Singelloop run to this project. To qualify for the project, a family has to have one or more children aged between 4 and 10 years who believe in St. Nicholas. Naturally, any older siblings, up to 16 years old, share in the festivities with a special treat too. For each child, the AKF gives the parents or guardians a voucher with a value of €30. Vouchers can be spent at a selection of small retailers – no chains – thus building these retailers' community involvement and guaranteeing discretion. 'It's lovely to witness that spirit of engagement among local shop owners, for instance when they waive a few euros for parents who go slightly over budget.' Parents are free to choose gifts by themselves. 'They know best what will make their child happy and that helps make it a truly personal gift.' AKF is delighted to be helping families through this initiative.
Aartsen Kids Foundation wants to extend its support to those families who can benefit from it most, and puts a lot of time into finding eligible parents and children in the region. Their reactions are priceless. 'Parents are incredibly grateful. It's an awful feeling not to have anything for your child on an evening when everyone else is exchanging gifts. However, thanks to this project, they can go out and buy gifts too, and that's a vast relief. Kids love getting gifts, of course, but it also means a lot that they can go to school and join in conversation with the other kids about their presents. It helps them to feel they belong.'
Last year, AKF dedicated its Singelloop proceeds to the creation of a sensory garden for Stichting Pim in Dorst. Stichting Pim is a residential and recreational centre for kids with multiple disabilities. A long-cherished dream come true, the sensory garden adds 2,000 square metres to their world. 'It's like a small amusement park that's just around the corner', explains Stichting Pim's Ton van der Veer. During the Singelloop run, AKF raised a sizeable sum of money, as well as contributions in kind, such as for a fruit tree forest. Van der Veer enjoyed the event immensely. 'As a volunteer, it was amazing to be showered with appreciation by all those wonderful people.'