Ben Buckley wanted to give his children a big Christmas after a difficult year.

As the New York Post reports, the 32-year-old father of five from Hull, England was looking at a disappointing Christmas. After a difficult pregnancy, his partner was ill. He’d cut down his hours at work to help with the children, but his boss was unhappy and he was barely making enough to scrape by.

Now, with a new baby, four older children, and a partner who has been ill, Buckley only had enough money to pay the bills. What he wanted was to give his family a good Christmas. He told Hull Live:

“This should be a happy time for us all, but under the surface of it all for me and my partner, it’s nothing but anxiety and worry about what’s to come and what we are to tell the kids and many other things.”

He added that he doesn’t have, “a big family network,” as his parents only make enough to take care of themselves. So he decided to crowdfund his holiday.

Buckley created a GoFundMe page asking for about $2500 so he could buy Christmas presents for his family. On the page, he explained the family’s financial troubles, and added, “I beg and plead for some help so I can give my children a happy Christmas.”

He told Hull Live that he’d never done anything like this before, but thought it might, “make things comfortable”:

“I’m feeling a lot of panic and anxiety and feeling shameful. […] At the minute, what I have coming in covers surviving. I don’t like the feeling of being a charity case. I don’t like to feel like I’m begging.”

The dad’s bid for help was a success. He quickly met his funding goal and then thanked everyone who contributed. He says he plans to leave the GoFundMe page up a little longer so people can see the “thank you,” then close it down for good.

While Buckley’s fundraising effort was a financial success, it has been controversial. His stepfather told the Scottish Sun that Buckley is a good dad who would never let his children go without presents at Christmas. At the same time, as someone who has helped the dad with Christmas presents in the past, he considered the page, “begging,” and, “not nice”:

“He is family orientated but I wish he had spoke to me first. I don’t think it will cause a rift but I’m not happy with the situation.”

Buckley’s neighbors were also divided, with one telling the Sun she was, “disgusted,” by the fundraiser, while another talked about how polite the family is: “They are a very nice family. He is a gentleman.”

The controversy continued on social media, where some were offended at the idea of fundraising for Christmas gifts.

Others, however, were amused or sympathetic.

Aware that his GoFundMe had caused bad feeling, Buckley has included an apology with his online thanks to donors. He wrote:

“We are sorry if we caused any offence or upset anyone, this was never our intention. We never expected this amount of kindness or media attention. In the new year, we are going to make it one of our priorities to make monthly donations to other GoFundMe accounts.”

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3 Replies to “Down-on-His-Luck Dad Launches $2500 GoFundMe for Christmas Presents. Some Say He’s Out of Line”

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    That’s alot per kid

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I know he wants his family to have a good Christmas. But we are all struggling. I’ve been disabled for 18 years I get so little it’s at the point I can’t buy my medication. I have two terminal diseases and I’m trying to help my granddaughter start Nursing School in February. She has a 4.0 grade average. Her books are over a thousand dollars. This is what GO FUND ME should be about. Not buying expensive gifts that you can’t afford. Merry Christmas.

  • DRae 2 years ago

    I had many a Christmas with almost nothing. Normally a new shirt for school or a pair of shoes. I grew up in poverty, without a father, and I am glad that I was able to experience that because I think it is good for people to face such conditions. The poverty part, not the father part. At the time I thought it was horrible but in the end I believe it keeps people grounded.

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