On Friday 13th December, when millions across the UK were sunk in disappointment at the result of the general election, two young mums in the North West decided that instead of moping around, they were going to do something to bring hope out of the despair. Jade Unal and her friend Mia Warren started a Facebook group ‘Corbyn’s Christmas Challenge’ to encourage people to donate to foodbanks and charities. And it kind of snowballed...
The challenge was simple:
Tag three friends in a post
Take a pic and tag #CorbynsChristmasChallenge
Take your donation to a local food bank
Nominate 5 more people
Members poured in, sharing thousands of pictures of their donations to local foodbanks across the country. In less than a week, the group had more than 16,000 members, and the number is growing every day. The team Jade and Mia have built have their work cut out just managing the admin of the group.
The CCC team also set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the homeless charity Centrepoint, which reached and exceeded its £5000 target in just 4 days, and a Twitter account, @CorbynChrist, which is gaining followers daily.
Jade and Mia only met the week before the general election, at a Jeremy Corbyn rally in Pendle, Lancashire. The morning after the result, Jade says she was feeling terrible:
“My Mum called me and I said Mum, I just don’t want to talk, I’m so depressed. And she just said ‘Jade, what would Jeremy Corbyn do?’”
“And it’s just been incredible, we’re riding a wave. Where this has gone has already exceeded all our expectations!”
Just over a year ago, Jade was attacked after a Labour meeting in Wakefield, Yorkshire, by
right-wing thugs who disagreed with her political views. The incident left her bloodied, bruised and badly traumatised, and she was forced to move away from the area for her own safety. She says she has since found it extremely hard to trust people.
“I spent 8 months in the house, basically. I felt like I could never trust anyone ever again. But doing this has given me back my faith in human nature. Not only are people amazing, they’re REALLY amazing!”
“When I sit down to eat on Christmas Day, I’ll know that there are a few less hungry people, because of this. That’s my Christmas present”
After Christmas, the plan is to keep the momentum of the project going as a continuous drive, Corbyn’s Community Challenge, to try and counter the damage the Tory government will do to the poorest and most vulnerable.
A new fundraising page for the project has been set up here, and the aim is for supporters to commit to doing something on a regular basis, be it donating food, supporting a charity, or helping out at a local project.
“We have to start looking after each other now, it’s the only way we’re going to survive”
Mia and Jade don’t conform to the stereotypical image of the female political activist – they’re glamorously made up, spray-tanned, and fashionably dressed. This has led to some people – even supporters of the project - accusing them of being fame-hungry, and questioning their ‘intentions’ with the CCC project.
“It’s really hurtful to be attacked for how we look, even by people that are supposed to be on the same side” said Jade
“So I wear red lipstick and get a spray tan – what does it matter how anyone looks? Kindness doesn’t have a face!”
The Corbyn’s Christmas Challenge phenomenon has been covered by several media outlets including the Daily Mirror and Left Eye View, whose reporter Stuart Sorensen said he has been forced to remove numerous comments under his post about the project. He had this to say to those responsible. We agree with him. We're frankly at a loss to understand what kind of person thinks appearance or personality is more important than the fact that thousands of hungry people are getting the food they need, thanks to this project...