Gazette readers are once again being asked to show their Christmas spirit and help those less fortunate by donating a small gift to our Christmas Toy Appeal.
Last year, the people of South Tyneside showed just how generous they are by donating a bumper haul of gifts so that some of the poorest and loneliest of people in the region could experience the true meaning of Christmas.
This year, the Gazette has teamed up with Hope4Kidz, a Wearside-based charity which helps disadvantaged and special needs young people across the North East.
Hope4Kidz is launching the appeal by asking you to donate toys and selection boxes to be distributed to hospitals, children’s services, women’s refuges and special needs units around the North East in time for Christmas.
The charity is also inviting disadvantaged and special needs youngsters across the North East to a free Christmas party at Illusions nightclub in Sunderland on Sunday, December 6, when Santa is also expected to pop in to talk to the children.
Almost 400 youngsters, all of whom are struggling to overcome long-term illness, disability and other problems such as poverty and abuse, and their families attended the party last year.
The free event is designed to give the young people and their families a chance to escape their problems and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment from a balloon artist, magician, face painters and bouncy castle as well as dancing and party games.
There will also be an opportunity to meet ‘Roly Poly’ the skunk, a silver fox, Flower the meerkat, a racoon, guinea pigs, rabbits and an eagle owl in pets corner.
Santa will also make sure every child receives a selection box before they head home.
Viv Watts, of Hope 4 Kidz, said: “Santa’s Christmas party is one of the most popular events of the year because it gives the children something to look forward to and a chance to escape their circumstances.
“All the children leave the party very happy and very tired after all of the games and mayhem. The question the children ask on leaving is ‘can I come back next year?’”
Anyone wishing to donate a selection box or toys can do so at our designated collection point, H&D Windows, Tudor Road, South Shields. The last day for donations will be Friday, December 18.
Viv added: “We are extremely grateful to Illusions Club for once again sponsoring the party by donating the use of the club, providing the staff and the DJ, and to the public and businesses who continue to support our Christmas appeal.
“Our thanks, too, to Harry Atkison for answering our plea to act as a drop-off point for gifts.
If any other business in the South Tyneside area is willing to act as a drop-off point for us, we would love to hear from you.
“Christmas is a very difficult time for many families. The gifts donated to our appeal really make a difference. Your gifts ensure that some of our most vunerable children and young people can experience the joy of opening gifts on Christmas Day.”
For further information about Hope 4 Kidz, Santa’s Christmas Party application form or to have a Christmas delivery for your unit or charity, call the charity direct on 0191 534 7788, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.hope4kidz.org.uk