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Spreading joy with toys

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Our travel teams are calling on you to help spread some festive spirit to disadvantaged families in time for Christmas.

We’re running a ‘toy bank’ drive from Monday 8th November to Wednesday 1st December. The campaign calls for donations of new toys to be dropped off at any of our 14 travel branches.

At the end of the month, the donated toys will be delivered to good causes local to each branch, such as food banks who are working in partnership to support families.

One of the causes to benefit from the scheme is Gainsborough Salvation Army. Captain Wendy Brown, Minister and Food Bank Co-ordinator explains why this ‘social action church’ needs your support more than ever…


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"We’re very much a church with our sleeves rolled up, and we love doing community outreach work. We run various programmes including singing groups, community cafes, and fundraising performances from our band. One of the initiatives that keeps us busy at Christmas is our toy drive.

"The cause started seven years ago, when just one individual was given his Christmas bonus from work and used it to buy toys to donate to the Salvation Army in Gainsborough. He then got his work friends to do the same. Since then the appeal has grown incredibly.

"Last year, we were able to give 450 children Christmas presents. Every child receives at least two toys each; some colouring books and pencils, as well as a selection box, so they get quite a haul from us. Then for one week during December, we put our entire activity programme on hold and spend this time sorting the toys, packing them and distributing them to those in need.

"To run a successful programme of this size, we all have to work together and work hard! We run our food bank year round but we’re extremely busy at Christmas, so it’s all hands on deck in December.

"It looks like this year will be the hardest year we’ve had. With the pandemic, changes in the benefit system, and the rising cost of fuel, we’re anticipating greater demand. It’s a huge effort and a small team so we need all the help we can get.

"There are families who have a low household income, are in receipt of benefits, or are struggling to find employment, and Christmas can be a real struggle with all the extra expenses. Recipients are all signposted to us through referrals, whether that’s from a welfare officer at school or social support agencies. We don’t see the names of any of the children, so the process is discreet and always non-judgmental.

"We support children up to age 18, but we always seem to struggle to get donations for teenagers, so donations of gifts for children over 15 are particularly welcome.

"Every year the people of Gainsborough and the surrounding areas blow us away with their generosity. This is an opportunity for us and them to give back to our communities and care for our neighbours. Nobody should have to choose between buying gifts for their children and paying the bills. They deserve to be able to enjoy Christmas the same way anybody else does."

If you'd like to spread some festive cheer this Christmas, please consider donating to Travel's toy bank. Click here to find out how.


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