The Annual Christmas Toys & Teens Appeal is back – but in a new guise!
In order to protect our volunteers due to Covid-19, we have decided not to run the toy project as usual this year. Instead of collecting presents, we are asking you, our generous supporters, to donate money instead of gifts. This money will be used to buy new Christmas presents for deprived children in Reading, and delivered directly to the organisations that help them.
In the first three weeks of UK ‘lockdown’ it’s estimated a quarter of all households in the UK had lost either a substantial part, or all of their earned income as a result of Covid-19. Devastatingly, this has plunged many more Reading families into poverty. Out of the organisations we support, nearly all are asking for more presents this year as families struggle to cope, relying on food banks and having to choose between heating or a gift for their children at Christmas.
But the Toys and Teens Appeal is here to help. Sponsored by The Reading Chronicle and organised by Reading Family Aid, we are raising funds this year to buy new presents suitable for ages 0 – 16, to give to disadvantaged Reading families at Christmas time.
The project was launched today by the Mayor of Reading, Cllr. David Stevens. He said “It’s my pleasure to support the Reading Family Aid Toys appeal 2020 and I’d encourage everyone to take part and show how generous our community can be. Although it may be surprising and upsetting to think that we have children in Reading who are living in poverty, we can all do this small thing to help put a smile on the faces of those young people who may not get any Christmas presents if it weren’t for this appeal”.
The appeal has a profound effect on families and children who receive these gifts each year. One such recipient, Paige, remembers the difference the appeal made to her when she was younger. “My mum was a single parent, she scrimped and scraped and did the very best she could for us in the circumstances she was facing. One year, we were living in a women’s and children’s haven after moving out from [my mum’s] abusive partner. We received a Christmas box and some nice toiletries/pjs etc. It was the gesture more than anything that meant the most”.
She explains “Whilst presents are not the be all and end all at Christmas, to a child they mean a great deal. Nobody wants to be that child that goes back to school after the Christmas holidays and has to listen to their friends talk about all the presents they received, whilst they didn't. Imagine seeing your own children with nothing to open on Christmas morning. For those with little else, this Christmas present could be everything.”
In 2019, the Toys and Teens Appeal delivered gifts to over 2,000 disadvantaged children from 895 families in time for Christmas. This year, please consider donating to our cause. You could organise a ‘mufti day’ at school or the office, or share our crowdfunding page on your social media. Anything you can give, no matter how small will make a huge difference to these families at Christmas time. Thank you.
Our fundraising page will remain open until 4th December, after which the funds will be used to buy presents that will be sent directly to organisations and distributed to deprived children across Reading. There will be no donation points open this year as we are sadly unable to accept any gifts to limit the spread of Covid-19.
To donate, please visit our Go Fund Me crowdfunding page.
You can also print out a poster here to help us promote our appeal.
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