the Free Press today launches a campaign to spread festive cheer to under-privileged children by making sure they receive a Christmas present this year.
Our appeal comes as it was revealed around 600 youngsters in Doncaster face the prospect of having nothing to unwrap on Christmas morning.
The Free Press has teamed up with The Salvation Army as it launches its annual Christmas Present Appeal in a bid to make sure every child in Doncaster has a Christmas to remember.
And we need your help to collect 600 presents to make Christmas sparkle for these children.
From this Saturday to Friday, December 16, members of the public are invited to drop in to Superdrug stores in the Frenchgate Centre and Waterdale with unwrapped gifts for children aged 0 to 16.
The gifts will be then be wrapped and distributed to more than 600 vulnerable children and families in Doncaster through The Salvation Army’s own networks, community groups and social services.
Captain Anne Crane, leader of The Salvation Army in Doncaster said many families known to agencies including social services, single-parent support networks and family centres have come to rely on the toys donated through the annual appeal.
She added: “Millions of children and young people have benefited from the gifts donated to The Salvation Army over many years. By giving a gift to our Christmas Present Appeal you can make a real difference in someone’s life at Christmas.
“We totally understand the hard economic times that all of us are in, but if we could all buy one extra toy, drop it into Superdrug then The Salvation Army can give children whose families are in desperate situations a good dose of Christmas cheer.”
Making a donation to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Present is simple.
Buy a toy or gift for a child aged 0-16 years and take it, unwrapped to the Superdrug stores or The Salvation Army’s Lakeside Community Church in Booth Avenue, Doncaster.
A team of volunteers will then wrap the gift and ensure it reaches a needy child or young person this Christmas.
Cpt Crane added: “For children and young people we need everything, from soft and educational toys for the very youngest, to CDs, games and toys and accessories for older children.
“And please, don’t forget the teenagers, particularly the boys who sometimes tend to get left out of such appeals.
“If you have children or grandchildren, or nieces and nephews or young friends, think of what they might like in their Christmas stocking and consider buying one extra present and donating it.
“We believe every child deserves a new gift at Christmas, and are therefore unable to take used or second hand items for the Christmas Present Appeal.”
South Yorkshire Newspapers Editor-in-Chief Graeme Huston said: “We think of Christmas as being a magical time for children but often forget for some the reality may be very different.
“This campaign gives residents the chance to make a huge difference to the children right here on our doorstep and make sure they have something to smile about this year.
“We fully support the Salvation Army’s Christmas Present Appeal and urge readers to get on board by buying an extra gift this year.”
For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk
All donations are welcome, however food items and used products are not appropriate.
Suggested gift list for children and young people
* Children aged 0-three years: soft toys, colourful and fun educational toys, cot mobiles, baby clothes, bath toys, CDs of suitable music and nursery rhymes.
* Children age three to five: books, dressing up clothes, cars, lorries, dolls, action figures and soft toys, colourful and fun educational toys, CDs (music, stories and nursery rhymes), suitable DVDS, colouring sets, pencils, crayons, books, puzzles, footballs.
* Children age five to nine: dolls and action figures, educational games and toys, stationery (colouring sets, pencils, crayons, school sets), CDs and family friendly DVDs, books, puzzles, wordsearch, crosswords, skateboards, sports equipment and clothing
* Children aged nine to 12 games and toys, sports equipment and clothing, stationery, CDs, DVDs, books, T-shirts, hair ornaments, gloves, scarves, hats
* Children aged 13 to 16: CDs, DVDs, books, toiletries (please try to ensure non-allergic ingredients if possible), gloves, scarves, hats and other fashion accessories