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‘Buddy the Elf’ and Peninsula help EV Foundation ensure Christmas is for all

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

Gibraltar-based Peninsula Petroleum donated £10,000 to The EV Foundation Trust on Thursday, through its support for ‘Buddy the Elf’ and his charity endeavours this month

Although the Buddy the Elf challenge does not complete until Christmas Eve, Peninsula decided to present the EV Foundation with the money now as this is when it is needed to help families ahead of Christmas.

Presenting the cheque to Nicole Jones, the founder of the EV Foundation, was Gino Jimenez, the project manager at Peninsula’s Family Office, and Victor Moreles, a senior manager at Peninsula, all under the watchful eye of Buddy the Elf, aka Stuart Hedley.

Mr Hedley decided at the beginning of the month that he would dress up at Buddy from the Christmas movie ‘Elf’ to raise money for both the EV Foundation and the GBC Open Day.

Originally Buddy was only meant to be in Gibraltar for a week, but thanks to the support of local businesses and people he will be staying until Christmas Eve.

Mr Jimenez explained that the company wanted to support Buddy’s initiative.

“Buddy the Elf approached our CEO, John A Bassadone, with this initiative and his original target was £2500, which John very kindly through Peninsula immediately pledged,” Mr Jimenez said.

“He then offered to double any amounts over and above the initial £2,500.”

At present £20,000 has been raised via this initiative and pledge, with each charity getting £10,000 each. The Buddy appeal cut-off date is December 24 and any money raised in excess of the £20,000 will be distributed to the EV Foundation at a later date.

Mr Jimenez said it was “our duty” to help charities such as the EV Foundation.

“Our CEO is very generous and Peninsula is very much in favour of supporting local communities and local charities,” he said.

“So that no family or children stay without toys, food or presents over Christmas in particular.”

“I know this is a whole-year effort and I'm sure we'll be supporting in future, but we thought it right to present her with this token just in time for Christmas.”

Buddy the Elf raised £10,000, which Peninsula doubled making it £20,000, via donations from companies Pragmatic Play, Europort Holdings, Umee, Ibex, Triay Lawyers, Rock Water Coolers, Gibcargo, GFSC, BMI and Anglo Hispano.

Ms Jones explained getting this month in advance and before the cut-off date of December 24 has been “great”, as a lot of the stresses families in need face at Christmas involve concerns over how they can afford food, let alone presents.

“The sooner we give them the vouchers, the sooner they get the stress off them and the sooner they can pre-plan for the Christmas season, buy food, buy presents, gifts, organise themselves, organise their families. So it's very important the sooner we get this funds, the better,” she said.

“Today as we speak they will be over 100 families getting their vouchers.”

“The vouchers are a mixture of food. And we're talking we're not talking about £50 worth of food which is good enough but we're talking about £200 pounds up on food and then over £200 pounds on gift vouchers per family, depending on the family size.”

“It is very important for them for them. Can you imagine some people are getting £220 on benefits and they have children.”

“A month, they are living off £220 and they're having to pay £90 in rent and pay £150 in utilities.”

“They don't even have enough to pay water, electricity or rent. How do they do for food?”

“How do they do for presents birthdays, uniforms, clothes, a boiler and a fridge, any electric domestics or anything that breaks?”

“So that is why it's very important that this is not only for Christmas.”

“But this is the most special time because for us it's very important that every child feels like the rest of the community.”

“And when children go back into school in January, that they can talk about their Christmas holidays what they did with their families what they opened.”

“We need them to feel included and that for us is very important.

“And that is why for me it's very important that they do get brand new stuff.”

“I get a lot of people telling me I've got second-hand toys that have barely been used.”

“No, those children will get nothing that my children will never get. Christmas is all about feeling special, being inclusive, feeling like the rest of everyone, like the rest of the community.”

She reflected on what Mr Jimenez said and that the community has a role to play in helping people, stating it was “not just the families’ job or the Government’s job, but everyone’s job”.

She asked that people think of them and help out with any donations they can and any fundraising ideas they have.

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