Customers and members of Central England Co-operative in Norfolk and Suffolk have helped bring smiles to children’s faces this festive period by donating 10,000 presents and stocking fillers as part of a Christmas toy appeal.
The items were dropped off at special donation points located in all 262 Co-op stores across 16 counties, as well as at its 132 funeral homes, up until 3 December as shoppers took on the challenge to give children who may otherwise have gone without a gift to unwrap on Christmas Day.
All the presents have now been shared out via local charities, community groups, food banks and hospices, who are handing them to as many children as possible to help spread much-needed festive cheer.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op chief executive, said: “We cannot thank our members, customers and colleagues enough for supporting our Christmas Toy Appeal, which will ensure thousands of children have a present to open on Christmas morning.”
Items donated included puzzles, games, soft toys, books, art materials, dolls/figures and even skateboards and scooters.
Four special events were held across the country to coincide with the appeal, which saw the Co-op Christmas lorry stop off to take on donations from locals with festive fun and food on offer.
Well over 1,000 toys were donated at these events alone, which included more than 240 donated in Reepham by customers and local businesses at an event at the food retailer’s Station Road store last month.
Those toys and more collected through the appeal went to the Reepham Christmas Stockings campaign, which is ensuring the toys get to deserving youngsters in time for Christmas.
Major organisations supported by this year’s Christmas Toy Appeal included Rainbows Hospice, which received a donation of toys for the third year running.
Kate Golding, head of organisational giving, said: “At Rainbows, we can always put toys to good use for our children, young people and their siblings – not only at Christmas but throughout the year.
“Thank you so much to everyone who donated a toy. We really appreciate it and wish you all a very merry Christmas.”
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