A struggling Hebburn mum has spoken of her gratitude for the support she has received from a local help group - as its founders launched their Christmas appeal.
Kim McIntyre, 37, says she and her two children were left with nothing after a relationship turned sour.
She was put in touch with Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin, who founded Hebburn Helps, and is now slowly getting herself back on her feet.
The women have launched a number of Christmas appeals to help families like Kim and others who have found themselves in hardship and in some cases destitute situations.
Kim said: “Hebburn Helps has helped me massively. They have been an absolute godsend.
“From where I was a year ago to now, I will never be able to thank them enough for what they have done for me and my children.
The people who are coming to us for help, are not just on benefits, some of these people are hard-working and have jobs but are struggling to make ends meet.Angie Comerford
“If it wasn’t for them, my children would not have had a Christmas or a Christmas dinner.
“When things went wrong, I was left in an absolute mess. I don’t have any family close by, I had no one.
“Walking into Hebburn Helps, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, I can’t even describe it.
“I just felt like a failure because I couldn’t support my children - but the girls have really helped me.”
Last year, Hebburn Helps distributed 1,500 new toys to more than 300 families, whose children would have otherwise woken to nothing on Christmas Day.
It also dished out 80 Christmas meals, 150 hampers and 100 blessing bags filled with items including toiletries.
Angie said: “The people who are coming to us for help are not just on benefits - some of these people are hard-working and have jobs, but are struggling to make ends meet.
“Their wages just about cover the essentials and keep the roof over their heads, never mind when things like Christmas and school holidays come around - they just can’t do it.”
Jo added: “We can’t thank the kindness and generosity of people enough.
“We had such an amazing response to our appeal last year, and we hope people will be able to help us again this year, to ensure no child misses out on the fun and magic of Christmas Day.”
People can drop off toys and selection boxes donations at Hebburn Helps, Deja Vu old & new; Albert Road, Jarrow, Harton & Westoe Boxing And Fitness Club,;Luke’s Lane Community Association, or Peaky Finders in Frederick Street, South Shields.
Donations for pets can be left at Animal Antics, based within Hebburn Shopping centre.