Sunderland Echo 2020 Christmas Toy Appeal launches
For so many families in the city the run-up to the big day is one of worry – and the Coronavirus Pandemic means that this year the need is greater than it has ever been.
So as the festive season begins, we are once again asking you to dig deep and buy one extra gift while you are out shopping to help bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas Day.
This is the seventh year the Echo has teamed up with Hope 4 Kidz - which helps disabled and disadvantaged young people across the region.
Last year – thanks to your generosity – over 3,000 children woke up to something special on Christmas Day – a present many of them would otherwise not have received.
Anneline Dowell, secretary of Hope 4 Kidz, said: “Covid-19 has made life very difficult for children who are in low income families. Some have parents who have lost jobs or income because of the pandemic, living in refuges, in care or in ill health.
Christmas can already be a stressful time for these families and this year will be harder for the vulnerable especially for those shielding and food being the priority.
"The Christmas Appeal will relieve some of that stress if their children could receive a gift for Christmas.
"Last year we gave out over 3,000 gifts which were kindly donated from the people in Sunderland at drop off points all over the area.”
She added: "This year, the wish list is already over 3,000.
“We very grateful for the partnership with the Sunderland Echo over the last seven years and for the support of people and businesses who have ensured that so many children every year do not wake up on Christmas day with nothing.
Gary Oliver, Head of Content of the Sunderland Echo, said: “Every year our readers have astounded us with their generosity and we hope that this year will be no exception.
"We appreciate how difficult times are for many families at the moment and thank you all in advance for the wonderful way in which you respond to our appeal.”
This year gas network national grid company Northern Gas Networks has also thrown its weight behind the appeal by collecting gifts from the drop off points gifts and listing items ready for distribution.
Laura McDonald, stakeholder co-ordinator at Northern Gas Networks, said: “Our employees have access to work vans and their personal vehicles for drop offs and pickups of toys.
"We are really looking forward to supporting the appeal.”
Other companies which have pledged their support to the appeal are Barclays Doxford Park call centre; Biz Space; Bunzl; Computershare; EE North Tyneside; Maxim FM; Siemens and the BIC Hub Washington
Drop off points for gifts in the city are at Morrisons supermarkets at Doxford Park and Sedaburn; Sainsburys in Fulwell, Silksworth and Wessington Way, and Wilkinsons in Sunderland.
The last day for donations is Tuesday, December 15.