THIS is the record-breaking haul of festive goodies kind-hearted Gazette readers have handed in to our 2013 Toys & Tins appeal.
The staggering collection has been described as “phenomenal” by the charities who will distribute the toys to youngsters in time for Christmas.
It was a sight that left one charity worker “overwhelmed” and “teary-eyed” at the kindness shown by the people of South Tyneside.
Their generosity now means children who would otherwise have nothing will now have something to open on Christmas Day.
This year’s bumper haul was made possible after the Gazette joined forces with Asda Boldon and Asda South Shields.
Julie Robinson, manager of domestic violence charity Options, said: “I just can’t believe people’s generosity.
“This is definitely the best year yet – and in such a dire financial climate.
“It’s just amazing how kind-hearted the people of South Tyneside really are. Words cannot describe what this will mean to the kids.
“As a mother you want to do your best for your children, but when you have fled your home and have nothing, being able to provide just one present for your child on Christmas Day is just a priceless feeling.
“But thanks to the generosity of Gazette readers, children who may have woken up to nothing on Christmas Day will know Santa hasn’t forgotten them.
“From the bottom of our hearts we thank everyone who has donated to the appeal.”
As well as Options, families who are looked after by the borough’s East health visiting team will also benefit from the kindness shown by our readers and Asda customers.
Cheryl Rutherford, community nursery nurse with the team who works with pre-school children, said: “It’s just amazing the toys that have been donated. I’m actually speechless at the generosity of the people of South Tyneside.
“To see a young child, who would otherwise have nothing, being able to open a present on Christmas Day is the best feeling in the world – and it is the people who have donated to the appeal who have made all this possible.”