Generous Wigan Council employee prepares festive hampers

Jess O’Donnell, who works in the children’s social care department at the town hall, has been putting together gifts laden with treats to be given out around the borough during the festive season.
Jess O'Donnell with two of the hampersJess O'Donnell with two of the hampers
Jess O'Donnell with two of the hampers

The hampers are packed with an extraordinary range of items, with Jess collecting everything from chocolates, biscuits, mince pies and selection boxes to baking equipment, bath bombs and activity packs.

Jess got the idea for helping people in December when she saw the huge response to the campaign to provide free meals for children during the half-term holidays in which the Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford played a major role.

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Jess, 28, said: “I saw the campaign in October and thought it would be the same situation over Christmas.

“From then on I wanted to do something to help. I started to request donations on social media and the generosity of people in Wigan has been brilliant. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.

“I’ve made about 20 hampers so far and the collection is ongoing. I’m just hoping there’s still enough stuff left if more families come forward.

“I’m doing these hampers so people can have a nice Christmas with a cosy night in playing family games, watching a Christmas film and having a hot chocolate. It’s just nice to be nice.”

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Jess spoke to children’s centres and social workers in Wigan to identify who the recipients of her hampers should be.

She has been tailoring the contents of the hampers to each household.

Her friends Chloe Naylor and Jessica Lyon have also got involved and helped to put the hampers together.

To find out more, search for Jess O’Donnell on Facebook.

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