The Salvation Army’s Toys & Tins, which last year supported more than 4400 people, will be launching next week with a roadshow touring the county to collect donations.
The Toys & Tins roadshow will start at the Forum in Norwich City Centre on Monday 21 November before visiting Hellesdon (Tuesday 22 November), Great Yarmouth (Wednesday 23 November), North Walsham (Thursday 24 November) and ending up in Sheringham (Saturday 26 November). People are invited to bring their toys and tins to the roadshow so The Salvation Army can start sorting and distributing hampers to families struggling to buy gifts for their children and put food on the table this Christmas.
Debbie from Attleborough, who has received hampers from the appeal over the last couple of years, said: “In the world we live in, it’s so comforting to know that people do care and the Toys & Tins appeal is an example of that.
“I actually used to organise Toys & Tins coffee mornings at work to raise money and collect donations. And then a couple of years ago everything changed overnight. I was married, in a happy relationship with two kids – they were 12 and 3 at the time - and one day their dad left. He was having an affair. I had no idea. And then suddenly he changed his mind and wanted to come back home. He was abusive. The police had to get involved. And on top of that he left me in a load of debt. It was an awful time.
“Meanwhile, Christmas was fast approaching. I never asked for help but my friends could see I was struggling. So they organised for The Salvation Army to deliver a Toys & Tins hamper.
“At first I felt so bad. ‘There are people worse off than me,’ I thought. But the truth was the stress of wanting to make Christmas special for the kids was making everything harder. So I swallowed my pride and let my friends help me. It was a massive burden off my shoulders.”
“I’d really encourage people to donate to the appeal. The thing is - you might need that help one day. You never know what’s round the corner. I went from supporting the appeal one day to needing help the other. Life is really tough.”
Hazel Sommerville, volunteer coordinator of the appeal, said: “Every year we are amazed by the generosity of the Norfolk people which has been transforming Christmases through the Toys & Tins appeal for the last 30 years. Last year your donations equated to more than £80,000.
“The Christmas Story inspires us as a church to reach out to those in need, so we’re running the Toys & Tins appeal once again this year to ensure that every family across Norfolk gets the opportunity to enjoy some festive treats this Christmas.”
Peter Cook, Editor of BBC Radio Norfolk, said “We’re delighted to be supporting Toys and Tins again. We’re lucky enough to have some amazing listeners who won’t hesitate to get involved and make Christmas very special for those who struggle at this time of year.”
People are invited to drop off non-perishable food and new, unused toys for children and young people aged nought to 17 years old at the Toys & Tins Roadshow. If you cannot get to a roadshow location then people are encouraged to visit their local Salvation Army – contact details can be found via salvationarmy.org.uk. Salvation Army volunteers will then make up food hampers, sort the gifts and distribute to children and families through The Salvation Army’s own networks, local groups and social services.
Gifts can include anything from soft and educational toys for the very youngest child, to games, toys and accessories for older children. The food hampers hope to include festive treats so Christmas puddings, mince pies and confectionary are needed in addition to tinned goods.
The Salvation Army works throughout the year to provide compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help to people who are vulnerable or in need across Norfolk.
For more information about the Toys & Tins appeal, please visit salvationarmy.org.uk/toys-and-tins-appeal, phone 01603 724408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift ideas for children and young people:
· 0-3 years: soft toys, colourful and fun educational toys, cot mobiles, baby clothes, bath toys, CDs of suitable music and nursery rhymes;
· 3-5 years: books, dressing up clothes, cars, lorries, dolls, action figures and soft toys, colourful and fun educational toys, CDs (music, stories and nursery rhymes), suitable DVDS, colouring sets, pencils, crayons, books, puzzles, footballs;
· 5-9 years: dolls and action figures, educational games and toys, stationery (colouring sets, pencils, crayons, school sets), CDs and family friendly DVDs, books, puzzles, word search, crosswords, skateboards, sports equipment and clothing;
· 9-12 years: games and toys, sports equipment and clothing, stationery, CDs, DVDs, books, T-Shirts, hair ornaments, gloves, scarves, hats;
· 13-17 years: CDs, DVDs, books, toiletries (please try to ensure non-allergic ingredients if possible), gloves, scarves, hats and other fashion accessories.
Food ideas for Christmas hampers:
· A family size Christmas pudding
· Mince pies
· Savoury snacks
· Dried pasta or rice
· Tinned meat or fish
· Tinned fruit
· Tinned soup
· Tinned baked beans
· Tinned vegetables
The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives throughout the last 150 years. Working in 128 countries worldwide The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 800 community churches and social centres.
Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk