A local church and charity are ensuring more than 500 children from Watford will wake up to presents on Christmas Day.
Watford Salvation Army on St Albans Road is encouraging people to add an extra toy to their shopping list so that families struggling to buy a gift for their children can make sure there is a surprise under their Christmas tree this year.
Church leader Captain, Mark Scoulding, said: “During the festive season, when many are enjoying celebrations with friends and family, others are struggling to make ends meet.
“Working in close partnership with the county council, nearby schools and local businesses, we will ensure your generous Christmas gifts go to those who might otherwise go without.
“The Christmas story inspires us as a church to reach out to those in need, so we’re running the Christmas Present Appeal to ensure every child gets a present.”
People are invited to drop a new, unwrapped toy for a child aged 0 to 16 years old in at The Entertainer at Intu Watford from November 1 or Asda Watford from December 1.
Our partners in Hertfordshire County Council and local schools will then distribute the gifts to children and families in the area.
Gifts can include anything from cuddly and educational toys for the very youngest child, to toiletries and electronic accessories for older children.
Andrew Tomsett, manager at Watford’s new The Entertainer store, said: “We believe that every child deserves the gift of play. We encourage anyone who can afford to take part to donate a toy so that we can help as many families as possible together.”
Beverley Ashdown, Watford Asda’s Community Life Champion, said: “It’s wonderful to see children’s faces light up when they open their Christmas presents. Let’s make sure that every child and young person in Watford has that opportunity.”
Ruth Whitehead, Outreach Manager at Hertfordshire County Counil’s ARC Services, said: “Last year we delivered more than 700 gifts to families in need. If you have children, grandchildren, or children you support, think of what they might like in their Christmas stocking and consider buying an extra present and donating it. We’re asking for brand-new toys or gifts so the families we support feel extra special.”
Nicola Furey, Pastoral Support Team Leader at Laurance Haines Primary School, said: “We are seeing more and more children and families in need. Please help if you can. We are grateful for all donations we receive, but food items and used products are not appropriate for this appeal.
“The Salvation Army works throughout the year to provide compassionate support, a listening ear, and practical help to people who are vulnerable or in need in Watford.”
For more information about the Christmas Present Appeal, please contact Captain Mark Scoulding on 01923 801169 or firstname.lastname@example.org