Central England Co-op customers and members have helped to bring smiles to children’s faces this festive period by donating 10,000 presents and stocking fillers as part of a special Christmas toy appeal.
The items were dropped off at special donation points located in all 262 stores across 16 counties, as well as at its 132 Funeral Homes, up until December 3 as people took on the challenge in these uncertain times to give children who may otherwise have gone without a gift to unwrap on Christmas Day.
All of the presents have now been shared out via local charities, community groups, food banks and hospices who are handing them to as many children as possible to help spread much-needed festive cheer.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive said: “We cannot thank our members, customers and colleagues enough for supporting our Christmas Toy Appeal which will ensure thousands of children have a present to open on Christmas morning.”
Items donated during the appeal included puzzles, games, soft toys, books, art materials, dolls/figures and even skateboards and scooters.
Four special events were held in Norfolk, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Rutland to coincide with the appeal, which saw the Co-op Christmas lorry stop off to take on donations from locals with festive fun and food on offer. Well over a thousand toys were donated at these events alone.
Major organisations supported by this year’s Christmas Toy Appeal included Rainbows Hospice, Birmingham Salvation Army, Family Action and The Active Wellbeing Society.
Major Adrian Allman, from Birmingham Salvation Army, said: “This Christmas time, the Salvation Army is once again supporting those in crisis with food and presents for children. We can only do this with the kind support of the general public and businesses who help to provide the food and toys that we are able to distribute.
“We are most grateful to have the tremendous support of Central England Co-op once again. The toy appeal that they have arranged in their stores across has resulted in many donations and these will help us make a huge difference to families and individuals across the region this Christmas.
“We thank Central England Co-op and their customers for their extraordinary generosity – together we will help to make the season better for those in need.”
The Society has also made a drop off of toys to Rainbows Hospice in Leicestershire for the third year running.
Kate Golding, Head of Organisational Giving at Rainbows, said: “At Rainbows, we can always put toys to good use for our children, young people and their siblings – not only at Christmas but throughout the year. Thank you so much to everyone who donated a toy, we really appreciate it and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!”
Locally, organisations the Society worked with included The Young Ones (Burton), Northfield Community Partnership (Birmingham), High Peak Food Bank, Hope for Belper (both Derbyshire), Soar Valley Community Food Project, Coalville Food Bank, Hinckley Food Bank (all Leicestershire), Kettering Food Bank, Doncaster Food Bank, New Hope Food Bank (Yorkshire), Cambridge City Food Bank, Peterborough Food Bank, Yaxley Food Bank (Cambridgeshire), Flitwick Children’s Centre (Bedfordshire), Reepham Christmas Stockings (Norfolk) and Lichfield Food Bank (Staffordshire).
Here are some more highlights from across the appeal: