Central England Co-op is launching a special Christmas Toybox Appeal to make sure as many children as possible have a gift to open this festive season.
Running throughout the month of November, customers and members are being urged to donate a present or stocking filler at special donation points located in all 242 stores across 16 counties.
Gifts will then be distributed to families who might not otherwise be able to afford to put presents under the tree for their children via local charities, community groups and food banks as well as major hospitals and hospices.
The appeal follows on from the success of our first ever appeal last year which saw over 12,000 presents and stocking fillers donated, and the 2020 appeal takes on additional significance during these challenging times for so many as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “After such an uncertain year for so many in our communities Christmas offers a time for reflection but also celebration and joy, particularly for children.
“However, we know through our work with our food bank partners and with FareShare Midlands the challenges being faced every day by families which has only got tougher as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By launching our second Christmas Toybox appeal we hope to make sure that as many children as possible across the country wake up on Christmas morning with a present waiting for them to help bring the festive season to life.
“We are again working with some truly inspiring local good causes and charities to make this appeal another great success and ensure that all of these donations will end up with children who need them most.
“So, if you can this Christmas, please visit our food stores, donate a new present and help us give a child a gift they will love.”
The Christmas Toybox Appeal donation points will be in stores from November 1 to December 9.
Items that can be donated have to be new, unwrapped and can include puzzles, games, soft toys, outdoor toys, books, dolls/figures, CDs/DVDs and art materials.
The major organisations being supported include Birmingham Salvation Army and Rainbows Hospice. Head of Organisational Giving at Rainbows Kate Golding said it was grateful for the support after being ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of Central England Co-op’s customers and members through last year’s appeal.
She said: “At Rainbows, we can always put toys to good use for our children, young people and their siblings. We especially love toys that focus on sensory arts and crafts as even those with the most complex of needs can benefit from them.
“We’d like to thank everyone who donates to the appeal, we really appreciate it after what has been a difficult year.”
Locally, we are also working with its food bank partners such as Kettering Food Bank, Hinckley Area Food Bank and Bethany Food Bank in Birmingham.
Keep posted to www.centralengland.coopand @mycoopfood on Twitter for more information and updates throughout the campaign.