'Wrap for Jak' sees over 1,500 presents delivered for disadvantaged children in South Tyneside
Jak passed away on November 6, 2017, the day after his grandfather, Jimmy Tomlin, had sadly died.
While the official verdict recorded by the Coroner was a ruptured artery, Jak’s dad, Tony Fada, believes Jak “died of a broken heart”, after struggling to come to terms with Jimmy’s passing.
The grief-stricken family decided to focus their energy on creating a meaningful legacy in Jak’s honour and in December 2017 set up the Wrap for Jak initiative in which the family purchase and collect hundreds of presents for disadvantaged children which they then wrap and deliver in time for Christmas morning.
On Sunday, December 18, Jak’s dad Tony was joined by “over 50” kindhearted volunteers at Harton & Westoe CW FC to wrap a whole host of presents including scooters, board games, barbie dolls and toy cars, as well as pamper products for mums who may also have fallen on hard times.
Tony, 34, said: “It was a phenomenal day and we smashed out presents target to end up a with six additional full Santa sacks. This is Jak’s legacy and he would have loved the thought of helping other children at Christmas.
"He loved to help people and I’m sure he would have been looking down yesterday at what was going on. I proud to call Jak my boy and proud we can do this in his name.”
The family raise money across the year to buy the presents, including a sponsored Santa walk at the end of last month.
Tony delivered the Santa sacks on December 19 – which each contain six to eight presents – to the Key to Life Food Bank in South Shields, the Teenage Unit in Boldon and the Mother and Bay Unit in Tyne Dock, who have identified families in need.
Tony said: “There are a lot of families struggling during these hard times and it’s amazing to know this will ensure children have presents on Christmas morning.
"Each organisation have said they are flabbergasted and couldn’t thank us enough. They said the Santa sacks will make a real difference to people’s Christmas.
"I’m absolutely buzzing and would like to thank the people of South Shields for their efforts. The whole of the town always rallies round this initiative.”
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Contained in each festive sack is a gift card addressed from Jak.
Tony added: “It makes me so proud to be doing this in Jak’s honour and it’s leaving such a legacy in his name. Many of these children ask about Jak and their parents tell them about him.
"This is something I will continue doing until the day I die.”
Tony has some additional funds left over which he is going to use in the summer to host the Jak Fada Cup – a fundraising children’s football tournament in Jak’s honour.