Big-hearted residents helping families in need this Christmas

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal.
Front Jo Durkin

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal. Front Jo Durkin

1
Have your say

A South Tyneside foodbank charity has been left ‘overwhelmed’ by the response to its toy appeal.

The Hebburn Helps Community Foodbank and Crisis Response Team launched a toy and gift appeal to ensure all the youngsters in the community get presents on Christmas Day.

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal.
Front Jo Durkin and Express taxi driver Keith Candlish. 
Back charity's Carla Kapranos, Angie Comerford and Express taxi driver Andre Ashston

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal. Front Jo Durkin and Express taxi driver Keith Candlish. Back charity's Carla Kapranos, Angie Comerford and Express taxi driver Andre Ashston

Jo Durkin, chairman of the group, said the generosity of the public has reduced members of staff and the people they help to tears.

Jo said gifts have been flying in to the group, which is based in the Children’s Centre in Campbell Road, and they would love for more to join in.

She explained: “The response has been overwhelming, it has been absolutely brilliant.

“With us running the foodback we see first hand the struggles people face and it is so much harder at this time of year. We talk to people about it and we are often in tears.

It is heartbreaking to think about children waking up on Christmas morning and thinking Santa has forgotten them

Jo Durkin

“It is heartbreaking to think about children waking up on Christmas morning and thinking Santa has forgotten about them.”

But, she said hopefully, thanks to the appeal, they can reach more disadvantaged children and teenagers in Hebburn and ensure they have gifts on Christmas day.

Jo said: “The gifts have been coming in from all over. From individuals to businesses.”

She said the latest batch of goodies were donated by the drivers at Express Taxis who held a collection to buy lots of new toys.

Jo said the toys will be distributed by themselves and a number of other organisations which work with families in need and youngsters in local authority care.

Hebburn Helps was launched by Jo last year after she turned a spare room at her business, Sew and Stitches into a foodbank,

She wanted to help families who were struggling to make ends meet and thanks to generous donations within the first week she had helped three families put food on the table.

The organisation has grown so quickly the volunteers had to move to larger premises in the Children’s Centre where they now operate from, helping scores of people in need.

Hebburn Helps is open 9am to 12.30pm on Mondays, 1.15pm and 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9am to 4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays for anyone who would like to make a donation.