Sunderland Echo readers can help make someone’s Christmas extra special

Help our Christmas Toy Appeal
Help our Christmas Toy Appeal
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UNBELIEVABLE. That’s your incredible generosity. And that’s what we’re counting on again this year to make the Echo Toys Appeal a spectacular record breaker beyond belief.

You amazed us with your stunning goodwill to make last year’s the best ever.

Sunderland Echo Editor, Rob Lawson and Womens Editor, Linda Colling launch this year's Toy Appeal.

Sunderland Echo Editor, Rob Lawson and Womens Editor, Linda Colling launch this year's Toy Appeal.

In spite of the recession, you took our appeal to your hearts. We had held our breath, thinking with money tight it would bite into your giving – but it was bigger and better than ever before.

No matter how difficult life is, Sunderland people never disappoint, giving so generously to those who are so desperately destitute.

In the bleakest of homes you helped to make a Christmas miracle happen that was life-transforming.

And that’s what we need again for hundreds of poverty-stricken families on the breadline and children sheltering with their mothers in Wearside Women In Need refuges fleeing violent men.

Your gifts will go to families, single mothers, young men and women coming out of care and needy youngsters.

Sharing in your untold blessings will be Wearside Women In Need, Sunderland Social Services and two long established Sunderland charities, dating from the 1800s – the George Hudson Charity and Sunderland Orphanage Educational Foundation.

The need is so great and the Echo Toys appeal is now one of the finest traditions in the city.

It was simply phenomenal and breathtaking the quality and quantity of gifts you gave to help those who were struggling to make ends meet.

And once again you will be helping some of the very poorest in homes across Wearsiode.

This year again the need is massive. And that’s why Clare Phillipson, boss of Wearside Women In Need, makes this heartfelt plea knowing how tough it is financially for everyone.

Clare says: “Unemployment has risen in the city and everybody’s budget is stretched. Our basics are all costing us more for everybody. People haven’t had pay rises, food has gone up, fuel and heat are dearer for all of us.

“But, I don’t believe for a second that this will stop the people of Sunderland being generous.

“We are a fantastic community who always rally round. And I think the harder the times for ordinary people in the city that makes them more aware of people who are finding it worse than them.

“And I have no doubt that people will open their hearts to those who have less than them.

“There are such an awful lot of people in desperate straits in this city and it might not be visible or you might not realise how terrible the lives of some people are, but we hope as ever you will reach out.”

Knowing how magnificently you gave last year, Clare said: “More people’s lives were transformed than ever before.

“And what we would say to people is, it isn’t just the practical help that makes a difference, it is the hope and optimism that gift brings.

“It is the people who live on their own who are just so happy to have a hamper and a full cupboard in the kitchen.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

YOU can leave your gifts at collection points across the city. Please give only new toys and mark your unwrapped gifts “boy” or “girl” stating the age range they are for. As well as toys we need toiletries for men, gloves, socks, smellies and gifts for mothers. We also need tins and festive fayre.

The following are our collection points:

* Echo House, Pennywell

* Echo Office, High Street West

* Asda Customer Services, Leechmere,

* Asda Customer Services, Byron Place, Seaham

* Morrison’s at Doxford Park, Seaburn and Castletown

* The Bridges Customer Services Desk