More than 1500 youngsters to receive Christmas presents thanks to community toy appeal

A merry band of volunteers have been packing festive gifts for children living in poverty.

For more than twenty years, Santa’s little helpers at the Angus Toy Appeal have been packing Christmas presents for children living in poverty.

A merry band of volunteers have so far wrapped hundreds of gifts for children of all ages.

They’re determined to ensure thousands of youngsters have gifts to open on the big day, even as demand for their generosity soars.

Sharon Spink from the Angus Toy Appeal told STV News: “We’re around to take the pressure off of families at Christmas who are maybe facing financial difficulties and don’t have the extra cash to buy gifts for their children at Christmas.

“It helps families immensely; it helps them financially and through their mental health as well because a lot of families worry so much about not having gifts for their children at Christmas.”

Donation stations are setup across the county in locations like supermarkets and businesses.

The charity relies heavily on the public to support their gift donation stations and regular fundraising events. With the big day not far away, donations are coming in thick and fast.

Elizabeth Dorman and Isabel Dallas collected donations from their local churches.

Elizabeth said: “We’ve got all new toys, some clothes, some things for adults, some for children.

“We just feel for them to benefit is a good thing for ourselves. We feel good by doing it all.”

Isabel added: “And it’s been going on in our church for a good, good number of years now and you can see by what we’ve collected today, it’s just phenomenal, really.”

Since 2017, the team has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of referrals they’re receiving.

Each one can include several children living in poverty.

Six years ago, the requests for presents totalled 850.

This year, the number is currently sitting at 1500.

Gift bags are made up for children and youngsters of all ages.

Sharon said: “I think the numbers are increasing basically because the cost of living is going higher, there has been redundancies, Covid had a big impact too, people lost their jobs, their businesses.”

Now, more than ever, children face a Christmas morning without any gifts.

But thanks to the generosity and kindness of others, there’s a team of volunteers behind the scenes trying to ensure this isn’t the case, and that Christmas can be a special time for everyone.

Number of referrals since 2014

  • 2023: 1500, but this is expected to rise.
  • 2022: 1927
  • 2021: 1901
  • 2020: 1658
  • 2019: 1700
  • 2018: 1150
  • 2017: 850
  • 2016: 850
  • 2015: 580
  • 2014: 380
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