Toy Appeal: How you can help children in Sunderland smile this Christmas

Sunderland Echo Toy Appeal 2018 with Illusions Nightclub manager Mark Heptop, left, and Hope 4 Kidz Shannon Crowder with children from Sunningdale School.
Sunderland Echo Toy Appeal 2018 with Illusions Nightclub manager Mark Heptop, left, and Hope 4 Kidz Shannon Crowder with children from Sunningdale School.

Today sees the launch of the Echo’s 2018 Christmas Toy Appeal run in partnership with Wearside Charity Hope 4 Kidz.

For so many of our families the run-up to the big day is one of worry and the need to help is as great as 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.

Hope 4 Kidz hand over gifts from the Echo Toy Appeal to the children's ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Hope 4 Kidz hand over gifts from the Echo Toy Appeal to the children's ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

This is the fifth 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 3,603 children woke up to something special on Christmas Day.

Gavin Foster, Managing Editor 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 and thank you all for the wonderful way in which you respond to our appeal.”

Hope 4 Kidz will also be hosting its annual Santa’s Christmas party at Illusion nightclub, Sunderland, on Sunday, December 9, and is appealing for selection boxes to give the young guests.

Last year more than 400 children attended and had a whale of time meeting The Super Heroes, balloon artist, playing games and dancing as well as meeting the big man himself, Santa.

The party is an opportunity for children, many of whom are suffering from long-term illnesses, disability, abuse and poverty, to feel special and forget their problems.

Viv Watts, of Hope 4 Kidz, said: “We love this time of year and we are extremely grateful to everyone who helps make it special for those families who most need our support.”

Every gift, no matter how small is appreciated, but we do ask that they are all new and should not be wrapped. Gifts are needed for all ages groups – from babies to young people, mums and dads to older members of our society.

Your gifts can be left at one our designated drop off points: Tesco in The Bridges; Morrisons, Seaburn and Doxford Park; Sainsbury’s, Wessington Way, Silksworth, Washington and Fulwell; Virgin Money, Fawcett Street, The Bridges and The Galleries; Hays Travel, Holmside; Santander, Sunderland, Wilkinsons and Byron Place Shopping Centre, Seaham.

The last day for donations is Monday, December 18.