For the past seven years, Personal Trainer Jojo Ruby France has been raising money for local underprivileged children. “It became apparent that orphanages in La Linea, Manilva and Estepona were struggling and after a visit to one I realised that although they were well run and organised, they lacked the basics and there was no money to pay their bills,” Jojo explains. “I put together a Christmas appeal where I wanted to be able to give every child in one of these orphanages a Christmas card and it was so successful that not only did every child get a card with €20 in, they also got a Christmas sack.”
The following year, when Jojo realised that children were going to school without having breakfast and not eating until their evening meal, she got in touch with Gary and Judith Beaumont from the Duquesa Charitable Society of St George, and the Feed a Child campaign was launched. “For €20 a month a child would receive a package containing a ham and cheese roll, a piece of fresh fruit, a yoghurt, drink and biscuit.”
Due to the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Jojo could see that more and more people needed support, so this year theFeed a Family campaign was launched. “When Covid-19 hit it was apparent that by March we were in dire straits as a charity, not only had we run out of money but the amount of people who needed help was greater than ever, so I worked with local supermarkets to have a trolley available for people to add an item, such as food, washing powder, nappies or sanitary products, and we would put packages together and distribute them to around 120 vulnerable people who had no job and no access to social welfare,” Jojo says, adding that she personally raised €12,000 euros from April 2020 to January 2021.
Jojo’s goal for her Christmas campaign is to raise €12,000 by the 3rd January 2022.
“This will ensure all our families are supported throughout December, January and February. Each family will have a Christmas meal, each child on the Social Services list in Manilva, Casares and at the Emaus Social Kitchen in Estepona will receive a Christmas gift bag and no child will go to school hungry.”
Jojo is supported in her endeavours for the Christmas campaign by Gibraltar businesswoman Katherine Grant.
“Previously the Christmas appeal has been something I have done by myself and it has been really tricky, but with Kath on-board it has eased everything and I feel that this year is going to be our most successful,” Jojo comments.
There are a whole host of fundraising events making up the Feed the Family Campaign, the first having taken place on Friday, 19th November when six members of the Royal Gibraltar Police took part in an intensive personal training session. “This charity workout pushed them out of their comfort zone, but I hope it raised awareness about the project and reinforced the fact that this is not just for Spanish or English people, this is for anyone that has come across hard times,” Jojo states.”
One of the biggest money raisers for the past seven years has always been the annual Pub Quiz at the Hairy Lemon which Jojo says is always a great event, full of fun with Irish Bingo and some fantastic auction prizes on offer, including an overnight stay on the Sunborn Hotel. “I sold out eighty tickets in six hours and everyone comes along knowing that I am going to take their money off them,” she laughs.
The 12 days of Xmas Exercise Push launch on the 1st December is another way to help raise funds for Feed the Family. The start of December is always a tough time to try and get fit, but for those that want to start getting fit or for those who have had surgery or are in recovery, Jojo has created a simple, yet challenging programme.
“Knowing that people in poverty live their lives in discomfort every day, a group of eleven are running in the Malaga Half Marathon on the 12th December, including Kath who was a non-runner and who will now be running 21 kilometres,” Jojo says. “We are going to put ourselves through discomfort for a couple of hours to feel what it is like being vulnerable and out of our comfort zone.”
The Burpee Challenge will be the biggest in its history. Teams will burpee around the Rugby field at Pueblo Nuevo in fancy dress, running three times round the track over a distance of 1.2 kilometres. “We go from a burpee to a jump,” Jojo says. “It is brutal on the hands and the body and a lot of people who do this are not fit, they come to me to get fit, but they are willing to give up three hours on the 16th December to raise money for Feed the Family.
The final event will be a Boxing Day Dip in the sea on the 26th December!
For more information, to make a donation, to donate a gift or even join in one of the challenges, get in touch with Jojo Ruby France in Spain: 00 34 687 030 047 or Katherine Grant in Gibraltar: 00 350 5784 4000