A DRIVE to bring a little Christmas joy to the children of struggling local families has been launched in Redditch.
The Redditch Christmas Toy Appeal, now in its third year, is being backed by the Revitalise Redditch group of local churches and AOK, the town’s Acts of Kindness charity and supported by your local newspaper, the Redditch Standard.
“We helped with more than 500 children last year and there’s no question we are expecting more families in difficulty this year – you see hardship every day,” said Elaine Whitfield, warden at St Stephen’s Church.
And she emphasised that as usual this would not be a case of gifts just being given away,
“Every single family that comes to us will have been referred by an agency like the Job Centre, social services or the borough council,” she said.
“We then give them a voucher – which can be checked – and they go along when our gift hub is open and then they can choose a gift suitable for their child.
“And we try and make it as close to a shopping experience as possible so that dignity is maintained.
“And of course it’s a way of demonstrating the love of God throughout Redditch.”
Gifts can be donated now and these can be dropped off at the visitor centre in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, at St Stephen’s Church or at the offices of the Redditch Standard.
The Kingfisher has also offered a unit as the hub where the gifts can be collected, from December 9-16.
Elaine praised the well-known generosity of Redditch people and added: “One thing that has struck me is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving – people see the toys being collected and go out and buy more so we are always being replenished.”
Anyone who would like to help with the hub or with the toy collection can contact Elaine at: [email protected].
In addition she is also appealing for people to pay particular thought for gifts for older children, from say aged 10 and over.
“I know it gets more difficult as children get older but we would be so grateful for any help with this,” she said.