Sintvoorieder1 will make 25,000 children happy this year: ‘Everyone deserves a gift’

13 years ago they started at the kitchen table and now Sintvoorieder1 has grown into a foundation with hundreds of volunteers, who this year make no fewer than 25,000 children from The Hague happy with gifts.

Stichting Sintvoorieder1 is committed to children who grow up in poverty, so that they also get a gift and something sweet with Sinterklaas. We visit the warehouse in Leidschendam and talk to founder Esther Blom and regular volunteer Lieke de Reus.

Poverty is close

Esther from The Hague has just seen the huge amount of gifts her children received. “I was embarrassed because I know it’s not obvious to all children. Then I thought: can’t I give some of these gifts to others?

Together with friends and family, she started collecting toys, and everything was packed at the kitchen table. “The first time we donated 300 gifts to a home in the Salvation Army. Then the ball started rolling and we didn’t stop. After that we came to a shelter-from-my-body home and even people’s homes. Then you are confronted with the facts. That so close to your home, where you have everything, there is so much poverty. I think a lot of people don’t realize that.”

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Volunteers at Sintvoorieder1 | Photo: Sintvoorieder1

Santa is there for everyone

As a child you get a gift twice a year. When it’s your birthday and with Sinterklaas. “If you happen to be born into a poor family and don’t get a gift because of that, does that mean you haven’t been nice? Of course not, but it cannot be explained to a child,’ says volunteer Lieke.

“Sinterklaas is a beautiful Dutch tradition that everyone should be able to participate in”, begins Esther. “We also donate to, for example, Ukrainian children so that they can get to know the tradition. The bottom line is that Sinterklaas is there for everyone, whoever you are and wherever you come from. Every child deserves a gift.”

Warehouse

The warehouse is filled every day with toys, among other things through donations from companies and things that people bring. The toys are sorted and packed by a team of 65 permanent volunteers, as well as hundreds of people who occasionally come to help. “The peak is after the summer holidays, but we make so many packages that we are busy all year round. Unfortunately, we will soon be moving out of this building, so we are now very much looking for a new warehouse so that we can continue.”

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Sintvoorieder1 runs exclusively with the help of volunteers. “We are pretty much the only foundation that has a waiting list for volunteers, which is really unique. You can come to work every week or just once, and people like that. Plus, you know exactly what you’re doing. The package you pack actually ends up with a child. And the atmosphere in the warehouse is so cozy that you want to come back.”

For example, Lieke initially only wanted to come to work a few hours a week, but now walks around the warehouse seven days a week. “Well, I immediately felt such positive energy that I decided to take the rest of the year off from work and go after the foundation entirely.”

media week

Omroep West, The Hague FM and Sintvoorieder1 are joining forces to bring gifts to the central library in The Hague during the week of November 14. You can also donate money, toys and sweets via the Sintvoorieder1 website.

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