Your response to the Sunderland Echo Toy Appeal – run in partnership with Wearside charity Hope 4 Kidz – has been staggering, and we applaud your generosity.
You’ve made sure that over 4,000 youngsters in the area will wake up on Christmas Day to a gift they would otherwise not have received.
Despite the global pandemic and economic uncertainty, thousands of you answered the call to buy one extra present and drop them off at collection points all over the area.
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Viv Watts, chief executive of Hope 4 Kidz, said: "After an awful 20 months for everyone, people have been so generous.
"Everyone who has supported our appeal should be really proud.
"Yet again, they will have made a lot of children and families very happy at Christmas and we thank each and every one of them for that.”
The presents have been delivered to more than 30 organsations, including Sunderland Royal Hospital, South Tyneside District Hospital and The Great North Children’s’ Hospital – which treats many youngsters from Sunderland – women’s refuges, Butterwick Hospice, Together For Children and other childrens’ charities.
Viv added: “Given the fact that so many companies which have supported the appeal over the years had many of their staff working from home, it’s remarkable that so many gifts were donated. We had people dropping off gifts at our door.
“These gifts will make a huge difference to those families who may not otherwise be able to celebrate Christmas.”
"Thank you. We could not have done it without you."
Echo editor, Gary Oliver, said “Every year we ask our readers to step up and help those who are less fortunate.
“This year, once again, they have rallied round and we cannot thank them enough for making the appeal the success that it is.”
He added: “It is still a very difficult time for a great many people, but our readers have dug deep to help those less fortunate an give youngsters something special this Christmas.
"We applaud you."
Drop off points for the appeal were at Tesco The Bridges & Wheatchief, Sainsburys Silksworth and North, Morrisons Doxford Park & South Shields, Wilkinsons, Santander, Virgin Money, Arriva, Bunzle, Maxim FM Hays Travel, Peter Heron Estate Agents, BT Open World, The Hub Washington, The BIC NCS Trust, Café Mio South Shields, The Gym South Shields and Asda Pennywell,
Viv added: “Hope 4 Kidz could not have done the appeal this year without support from The Sunderland Echo and our wonderful volunteers, including our regular helpers, staff and students volunteers from The University of Sunderland, Barclays Bank and Northern Gas Networks.
“A special thank you to Rose Blake who buys dolls throughout the year and knits outfits for them to be donated to the Appeal.
"Rose has done this since 2007 and we estimated she has donated over 680 beautifully dressed dolls over the years.”
*If your organisation would like gifts for 2022, contact Viv Watts on [email protected]