There are all sorts of reasons as to why we give gifts; it may be to celebrate, to thank, or to even apologise. It may simply be to show appreciation, on a random day. As humans, we cherish the act of gifting; whether we are the giver or the receiver. The giver scours aisles and webpages searching for that perfect gift, they fiddle with wrapping paper and ribbons trying to iron out any creases that may have crept in, and with a beaming smile, and an earnest heart, hand over their gift to their receiver, eagerly anticipating a positive response.

The Prophet (saw) said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Bukhari)

Gifting allows us deepen and strengthen our relationship with those closest to us.  However, gifting is not an act limited to people you know. A gift to a stranger delivers a message of kindness, and love without expecting anything in return. It can be also regarded as an act of charity, with the sole intention to please Him.

When you open a present, carefully chosen for you, and lovingly wrapped, it fills you with warmth. Knowing someone has invested time and effort into this bundle of love, that is delivered with no expectations in return is deeply touching. 

This Ramadhan, and Eid, we wanted HHUGS’ families to be able to open gifts carefully chosen and lovingly wrapped for them. We wanted to fill their hearts with warmth, knowing strangers wanted to bring them joy. We wanted to bring cheer and a spiritual boost in Ramadhan, a month in which they feel lonelier than most.

We packaged, you delivered

We reached out to our supporters, and could successfully put this initiative into fruition, as the generosity we received exceeded our expectations.  This Ramadhan, £7,098.73 you gave provided 188 Ramadhan gift boxes, distributed to 485 adults and 326 children, all receiving gifts specifically chosen for them.

“Clearly someone made efforts to tailor gifts sets for every particular family. Everyone was very happy. JazakAllahu Khairan.”

“JazakAllah khayran for the thoughtful gift box, it was opened with such excitement by myself and my son Alhamdulillah.  Lovely gifts, May Allāh shower His blessings and Mercy upon you all at HHUGS and reward you all immensely. May Allāh accept your fasting and your ibaadah, ameen.”

Our dedicated beneficiary team worked tirelessly to successfully source, package, and distribute the gift boxes within the time window and on budget. Our Male Casework Co-ordinator Shaheer shares his thoughts on the purpose of the Ramadhan gift box.  

“The main reasoning behind the gifts is simply to bring joy to the families that we support. It is a way to remind our beneficiary families that we remain here for them. And given that many of these families endure profoundly difficult times throughout the calendar year, for them to be gifted with presents is likely the least we can do during the blessed month of Ramadhan.”

Our Female Casework Co-ordinator Abida comments on how the Ramadhan gift boxes helped show our love and care for HHUGS families.

“To show our love and care for the families and let them know that they are remembered in the blessed month by HHUGS, who consider them as their own families.”

The gifts were allocated and categorised per age group and by gender.  Extensive research and discussions were held among the team when choosing the gifts.

“The aim was to provide gifts that were those that we would like to receive ourselves, relevant to the age group and beneficial for them spiritually for our Muslim beneficiaries, (where possible).

“We did a lot of extensive research on which gifts had been provided in the past to avoid duplication. We did our own market research with families and friends to get feedback, discussed as a team what gift ideas we had and whether they were appropriate to our gifts criteria.”

After careful deliberation, days of scouring the internet for the best deals, and reaching out to generous businesses, the items were sourced.

We chose and varied the items dependent upon the make-up of each household. For example, teenage girls received a lovely gold/ silver-coloured metallic feather bookmark, a Qur’an journal, and a bath melt. For young children, we provided an assortment of sweets, board games, puzzles, and decorations which they could colour in or put up in their homes to welcome the month of Ramadhan. All families received a box of dates to open their fasts, and we provided gifts specific to age, gender, and the number of people in each home.”

Ready for the boxin’

Sourcing the items for the Ramadhan gift boxes was a challenge. Trying to adhere to a budget, whilst also wanting each gift to be beneficial and special was tricky. However, our beneficiary team worked hard liasing with businesses, and generous souls to carefully create our gift boxes. Members of our fundraising team also assisted in securing additional funding and donated items.

“We sourced items by reaching out directly to business owners, donors – both those who had supported us in the past as well as contacting new contacts. For children aged 0-2 years, we reached out to contacts to donate new items. We negotiated prices with contacts to suit our budget criteria which was very difficult in some circumstances.

“Alhamdulillah, we received a lot of generous donations. We were very grateful and felt proud that we were able to maximise the gifts that we could provide.”

Once the items were chosen and purchased, the next step was to package, and distribute the items within the allocated time.  It was intense, but our beneficiary team persevered with the recipients in mind, and with ultimate intension to solely please Him.

I’ll be honest, it was quite intense as there was a limited timeframe in which to get all the boxes prepared, packed, and sealed prior to delivery. However, at the same time, I feel this is part of what made the project so memorable, as the intentions were always to please Allah above all, and then to make the recipients happy.”

“The process packing and preparing the boxes for delivery was good alhamdulillah. It was a great achievement for the team to come together and finish the last step of the Ramadhan campaign. Knowing that the Ramadhan gift packs were soon going to be with the beneficiaries was extremely exciting. Alhamdulillah, with the support of Cho (our fundraising coordinator) who came to help us, as well as the team and Abida taking the lead during challenges, we were able to successful prepare the boxes and send them out.”

The gifts were packaged with care, with the recipient in mind. Our beneficiary team wanted to make sure those who opened it felt special, and cherished.

“We tried to encapsulate the feeling of opening a gift box and the excitement that children, specifically, would feel. However, we wanted all recipients to feel the care, love and thought that was put in. This meant that we took extra care to add special touches such as bundling gifts together, placing them in cellophane bags, adding tissue paper in the box, personalized chocolates, a Ramadhan card and a personalized sticker for each box.”

The feedback we received from our families in response to the Ramadhan gifts reminds us as to why we strive hard to bring cheer and joy to HHUGS’ homes. It also showcases the impact your generosity has on the households that are often forgotten and overlooked.

“Felt like a hug in a box! I’m SO Thankful. May Allah ease each ALL your affairs, and grant you the best in the dunya & ahkhirah Ameen.”

“Overall an amazing box. The kids were overwhelmed and the Islamic games have been a hit. JazakAllahu khair.”

HHUGS also sent food iftar vouchers or food packs to beneficiaries who receive monthly support, to help alleviate them during the blessed month. A total of 251 recipients received food packs including adults and children, in addition to their monthly vouchers to cover their deficit, the majority preferring the independence and personal choice that came with food vouchers, with four receiving physical food packs. The food packs included staples ranging from rice and pasta, to dates to break their fasts.

“We asked families if they would prefer physical food items or a shopping voucher to purchase the items themselves. Only 4 families asked for physical food packs. We did research, again with family and friends to ascertain what items would be necessary even visiting a butcher myself!

“I was able to find a family member who owned a grocery business to donate all the food items and alhamdulillah he was very generous, going above the essential food items that we asked for.”

The feedback from both the Ramadhan gifts, and food vouchers was overwhelmingly positive. Families were extremely grateful, and touched at the thoughtfulness and consideration of strangers who generously donated, and the HHUGS beneficiary team who worked hard to make it a success.

Our Beneficiary Programmes Assistant Iman touches on the responses received from HHUGS families for the gift packs and vouchers.

“Reading the feedback, one of the most important things in providing these gift packs and vouchers is giving our HHUGS families a reminder that we are here for them and that even on the most special of occasions, we are here to show them how much we appreciate them and love them for the sake of Allah.

“Hearing about the joy of the children and the hours they have spent playing with their toys and decorating their homes for Eid has truly been the most rewarding outcome from the campaign!”

An Eid delivery

After the Ramadhan boxes were completed, our beneficiary team did not stop there. They began the process once again, this time for the joyous occasion of Eid! Thanks to our donors, we had a generous response for our Eid gifts, and spent £13,085 towards bringing joy to our families.  211 families received Eid gifts; a total of 731 individual adults and children.

“The gifts are a way for HHUGS to show their presence and to remind families that we are here for them, should they need us in future. I think sending Eid vouchers and cards is a lovely way of achieving that goal, and also in boosting the morale of our beneficiaries at a time of the year when they may be feeling the most hardship, perhaps with a loved one in prison or with experiencing financial woes, for example.”

Families were gifted vouchers for Eid, so that mothers could be autonomous in choosing gifts personally selected for their children; making it that extra bit special!

Our Fundraising and Volunteer Coordinator Cho speaks a little more about the importance of giving our families autonomy when choosing their Eid gifts.

“It’s very empowering I think. Families would know better than I or anyone else what would be best to buy for themselves and for each other. It’s about humility, isn’t it? Giving them the choices in how they spend their gift vouchers and the freedom to do so. Alhamdulillah, Islam is empowering when it comes to giving zakat and Sadaqah to those in need and we should all aim to always empower the needy the best we can.”

This Ramadhan, HHUGS wanted to box up a feeling of love, kindness and goodwill by delivering a Ramadhan Gift Box to families who are often not on the receiving end of good surprises.

Although, it was a challenging task, our dedicated team strived hard and worked collectively to deliver. We are eternally grateful for the generosity of our supporters who donated towards the gift boxes which allowed us to deliver joy to broken homes this Ramadhan, and the generous souls who gave free and discounted items, and contributed in making it a success.

“I would say Jazakum Allahu khairan for all your support, kindness and love. You truly do not know much you have aided us during the process and providing a true happiness and smile on our families’ faces. I pray that Allah (swt) showers you with the same happiness that you have provided to our beneficiaries and makes it a means of Sadaqah and hasanat for you and your loved ones in this life and the next ameen.”

“Jazak’Allah Khaira to all involved in bringing happiness to the oppressed.  May Allah bless each and every one of you and write it heavy on your scales of good deeds, ameen.”