The small plastic tree with a single strand of tinsel went up early as Rebeka Stewart tried to cheer up her three little girls in lockdown.
But it stands in the corner of the room as a stark reminder of how hard Christmas will be this year for a family already struggling before Covid.
Rebeka, 28, says: “Last year we had a pack of four meats from Aldi and the girls got clothes as well as their main presents.
“This year we have nothing, Christmas dinner will be sausages and mash.
“There’s no point complaining, this thing has hit everyone, but when you’re already struggling it hits you that bit harder.”
Living in an area of Middlesbrough where 76% of children are growing up in poverty, the highest rate in the UK, Rebeka will shower Codie-Leigh, four, Mya-Lou, three and Harper-Jae, one, with love, but very few gifts.
We are raising funds for Save the Children UK to buy gifts for some of our most vulnerable youngsters and offer Christmas meals to hard-up families.
Every penny donated to our Save a Kid’s Christmas appeal will make a difference.
In our special issue on child poverty on Wednesday, Rebeka told how most days are a struggle to simply get by.
Rebeka says: “We put the tree up early because the girls are so sad not seeing their friends and family in this lockdown.”
Repayments on her government Budgeting Loan stopped due to Covid, so she cannot apply for another. She says: “We’ll go without more than ever this Christmas.”
To bring festive cheer to families like Rebeka’s, please give to our appeal today.