Help make Christmas special for needy kids
Today sees the launch of the Gazette's annual Christmas Toy Appeal – run in partnership with the charity Hope 4 Kidz.
For many families in the area the run-up to the big day is a worrying time – and the cost of living crisis means that this year your help is needed more than ever.
So, as readers gear up for their festive season, we are once again asking you to find just one more gift while shopping and leave them at drop off points all over the city.
These will then be distributed by Hope 4 Kidz to organisations which support children who are struggling to overcome long-term illness, disabilities and problems such as poverty and abuse.
This year, because of the cost of living crisis, there are more children than ever in local refuges, hospitals, homeless units and special needs centres.
This is the 10th year the Gazette has teamed up with Hope 4 Kidz – which helps disabled and disadvantaged young people across the region.
Last year – thanks to your generosity – nearly 5,000 children woke up to presents valued at £35,000 on Christmas Day – a gift many of them would otherwise not have received.
Hope 4 Kidz chief executive, Viv Watts, said: "Despite the cost of living crisis last year we had an amazing amount of toys, gift, toiletries and selection boxes donated which led to over 4500 beneficiaries.
"This year many people have had to tighten their belts even further, but if you can, please give a donation to the appeal.
"No matter the gift it will help make a child smile at Christmas"
She added: “The generosity of the people who live in the city is a credit to our area and the current cost of living crisis is a challenge for everyone.
"But your kindness for others who are less fortunate or going through strife out of their control has, over the years, made all the difference to families who were be able give their children gifts on Christmas Morning.
"Please help us do it again.”
Liam Kennedy, editor of the Shields Gazette, said: “Every year, our readers stun us with the generosity they show in our annual appeal and we hope that this year will be no exception.
"We appreciate how difficult times are for many people at the moment but we also thank you in advance for the wonderful way we know you will respond to our appeal.”
Drop off points have already been set up at shops and supermarkets all over the area and people are being invited to buy one extra toy or selection box and leave them in the collection bins and trolleys.
Please no not to wrap the donations – this will be done before they are handed out.
There are also drop off points at Cafe Mio, in Sunderland Road, South Shields, Morrisons supermarket in Ocean Road, and The Gym, in Crossgate.
The appeal is being run in conjunction with our sister paper, The Sunderland Echo – with drop off points are at Asda in Grangetown, the HSBC Bank at The Bridges, Peter Heron, the Sainsburys supermarkets at Silksworth, Wessington Way, and Washington; the Santader Bank in Waterloo Place; Virgin Money in Fawcett Street; Morrisons at Doxford Park and Keel Lounge, in High Street West.
The last day for donations is Monday December 19
For more information about the appeal or to become a beneficiary, email [email protected] with contact number and organisation details.