Teen’s kind donations bring festive joy to struggling families

published on 14 Dec 2021

Christmas Present Appeal donation
Neve Ashby with some of the presents she has donated to the Christmas Present Appeal

A kind-hearted teen is determined to spread the magic of Christmas after donating £250 worth of gifts to The Salvation Army’s Present Appeal.

Student Neve Ashby saves the money she receives for Christmas and birthday presents, and for doing odd jobs for family members, so she can spend it on gifts for families in need.

The 19-year-old recently donated a carful of presents to the church and charity’s Newcastle City Temple Corps (church). 

Neve said: “I knew there were kids in the North East who were going to wake up with no presents on Christmas morning. Christmas is a massive part of my life and I still get that buzz and sense of magic from it. It upset me to think that there are children out there who do not believe in Santa because they don’t get presents on Christmas Day. It tore me apart to think of families not being able to afford gifts.”

A keen bargain hunter, Neve started collecting gifts in the January sales, looking out for the best deals and ways to maximise the money she had. Going through a rough time herself, her mission to help others also gave her a focus and a sense of purpose.

Christmas Present Appeal donation
Neve with Major Liz Hancock at Newcastle City Temple Corps

Neve said: “I started planning it, researching what presents worked for different age groups as I know older children can often be overlooked. I set up a spreadsheet so I could see what was missing.

“I started to move my clothes out of my wardrobe and pile them under my bed to make room for all of the gifts.

“I bought around 30 books. I loved being read to as a child so I hope other children will get to experience that as a result.”

Neve and her mum Melanie packed the car boot full and delivered the gifts to a delighted Corps officer Major Liz Hancock at Newcastle City Temple Corps.

Neve added: “I wanted to donate to a charity like The Salvation Army as I knew they would distribute the presents in the best way, to those who need it.

“I got a real buzz when I dropped them off. I get a warm feeling knowing this will help make a child’s Christmas. I’m planning to do the same next year and make it even bigger and better!”

Christmas Present Appeal donation
Neve's car packed with donations

Major Liz said: “When Neve and Melanie turned up with a car bursting with toys, I was over the moon! So far we have had Christmas Present Appeal referrals for more than 350 children so Neve’s gifts will go a long way towards making sure we fulfil that.

“We know some families are facing a tougher Christmas than ever because of the pandemic and the rising cost of living. This will mean so much to parents who were worried their little ones wouldn’t have a gift to open on Christmas morning.

“Thank you Neve for your generosity and for helping put smiles on lots of faces this Christmas. We’ve felt the generosity of so many in our community this year.”

A Christmas lunch at a Salvation Army church

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