Reading Family Aid’s Toys & Teens appeal is back for another year, sponsored by The Chronicle. This year the appeal is accepting new and nearly new toys at 33 donation points across Reading and the surrounding areas. These toys and gifts will be distributed to disadvantaged children in Reading and the surrounding area, ready to be opened on Christmas day.
One recipient tells of the difference the charity made to her Christmas in 2021.
On 15th December, a day when Laura, a Grandmother, should have been celebrating her birthday, instead she found herself in hospital fighting for her life. All of Reading woke to the horrific news - a major fire had erupted in the flats in Rowe Court (Tilehurst). Laura who lived on the top floor had to escape the burning building in the middle of the night by jumping out of her living room window.
Laura said “I saw smoke around me and everything went dark, it was then I thought what am I going to do? I didn’t have long to get out of the window. There were flames coming out of the communal window, and I knew I couldn’t escape that way. I decided, and jumped out of the sitting room window. I landed hard on grass and mud. I managed with the last breath in my body to call out to ask people to help me”.
Laura was rushed to ICU in a critical condition with suspected broken Pelvis, hip, Collar bone, severe back injuries and potential internal damage. Laura has 17 Grandchildren and one great grandchild and even though everybody was happy that Laura was recovering she herself felt extremely down. The fire had destroyed all of her possessions along with all her presents carefully wrapped to give to her family on Christmas day. Reading Family Aid heard of her situation and came to the rescue.
“The charity gave me presents to give to my grandchildren at Christmas, I couldn’t believe it. To know there’s some goodness in the world after what happened, I was in a dark place and I was so grateful for their help. To not have to worry meant everything to me. I can’t pay them back but I want to spread the word. It breaks my heart that there are children who won’t receive presents without the charity”.
The Toys and Teens Appeal 2023 will be collecting donated new and nearly new toys from donation drop off points, as well as using funds from the Go Fund Me online to buy gifts for disadvantaged children to open on Christmas day.
To support the campaign you can donate a gift to the drop off points here. More details on what can be donated can be found here.
If you cannot donate a gift the campaign also has an online GoFundMe page to help buy new presents for age groups that receive less donations each yea.
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