Thank you for making Christmas special for over 5,000 needy children
This year’s Shields Gazette Toy Appeal, run in partnership with the charity Hope 4 Kidz, has resulted in over 5,000 Christmas presents – worth an estimated £35,000 – going to youngsters who might otherwise have woken up to nothing on the big day.
Your generosity, at a time when things are hard for many people, is staggering and we applaud your generosity.
Thousands of you answered the call to buy one extra present and drop them off at collection points all over the area.
Viv Watts, chief executive of Hope 4 Kidz, said: "It has been another amazing year for the Christmas Appeal.
"Considering the cost of living issues many people are facing, stores, businesses and individuals really have shown the generosity of people in the area."
She added: “Your kindness has supported a range of new organisations, including hospitals, schools, refuges, special needs centres and community groups.
“It's very humbling when you get feedback from these organisations and hear about the difference these gifts make to the children who receive them.
"Once again, we have been astounded by the quality and quantity of the gifts from all of the people who have donated to our appeal this Christmas."
Shields Gazette digital editor, Liam Kennedy, said “Every year we ask our readers to step up at Christmas and help those who are less fortunate.
“This year – and despite the challenges so many people are facing – you have again rallied round and we cannot thank you enough for making the appeal the success that it is.”
He added: “This is a very difficult time for a great many people, but once again our readers have dug deep to help those who are less fortunate and given thousands of youngsters something special this Christmas.
"Our thanks go to you all.”
Viv, along with volunteers at the charity, was at Sunderland Royal Hospital last week delivering your presents.
She said: “It was a real pleasure to drop off presents and meet some of the young patients.”
Presents have also been delivered to more than 50 over organisations, including Pennywell Community Centre, Bernicia, St Marys Church, Peace of Mind, Places for People, Academy 360, South Hylton Primary, South Tyneside Refuge and the Great North Children's Hospital.
Local businesses which supported this year’s appeal were Café Mio, in Sunderland Road, Morrisons in Ocean Road and The Gym in Crossgate.
The appeal was run in conjunction with the Gazette’s sister paper, The Sunderland Echo – with drop-off points at Adkins & Cheurfi Recruitment, Arriva, Asda Grangetown, Bunzl, Complete Business Solutions, Hays Travel head office, Hetton Sports Centre, Housing 21 Gildacre, the HSBC Bank, Lofthouse and Partners, Maxim FM, Morrisons Doxford Park, Peter Heron, Sainsburys at Silksworth and Wessington Way, Santander Bank, Siemens Energy The BIC at Sunderland and Washington and The Gym Group at Ryhope.
Viv added: “Without the help of the Shields Gazette, the Sunderland Echo, and all the other companies which have got involved, our small charity simply could not support the volume of requests for help we receive.
“A special thank you goes to Northern Gas Works for allowing volunteers to help sort and pack the gifts for the last three weeks.
“Thank you all from everyone at Hope 4 Kidz and have a merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year.”
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Once again, we have been astounded by the quality and quantity of the gifts from all of the people who have donated
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The estimated value of the more than 5,000 presents donated