ThE people of South Tyneside have once again showed just how generous we are as a community – with a bumper haul donated to the Gazette’s annual Christmas Toys and Tins appeal.
Bags of goodies, handed in by kind-hearted residents, helped bring a smile to hundreds of children’s faces yesterday.
And tins of food ensured people who would have had gone without were able to enjoy a fine feast.
The charities – including domestic violence charity Options and Places for People and Women’s Aid – and the borough’s health visiting team visited the Gazette office in Beach Road, South Shields, so toys could be wrapped up in time for Christmas Day.
The bumper haul this year was made possible after the Gazette teamed up with Asda Boldon, Asda South Shields, Chuter Ede Community Centre in Galsworthy Road, South Shields, and Harmony House in Hebburn.
Options manager Julie Robinson said: “Yet again the generosity of the people of South Tyneside has left us speechless.
“There is nothing worse, as a mother who has finally found the courage to escape a violent and abusive partner, to be faced with Christmas and the added pressure of trying to find money to pay for toys for their children, who have already gone through so much.
“The generosity shown by the people has ensured not only that youngsters had a happy Christmas, but they have stopped mothers who are at their most vulnerable from ending up in the hands of loan sharks.”
Dianne Erskine, of the Mission to Seafarers based at the Mill Dam, said: “It’s just so heartwarming that, even though people are struggling in this financial climate, they still think of others.
“The people of South Tyneside never let us down and their generosity is so overwhelming.”
The food was distributed to retired seafarers and their widows to help them through the winter months.
Anne Grey, safe care lead from the health visiting team said: “We have a lot of children who have gone through some tough times and it was great we are able to give them a little treat at Christmas.
“The people of South Tyneside have once again been very kind.”
Lou Adi, team leader at Places for People Women’s Aid, a women’s refuge, said: “I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of the public, it’s just amazing.
“Christmas is a difficult time for our families as most have left their homes with nothing.
“It really is totally amazing – we are just so grateful.”