Central England Co-op customers and members have helped to bring smiles to children’s faces this festive period by donating over 12,000 presents and stocking fillers as part of the retailer’s special Christmas toy appeal.
The items were dropped off at special donation points located in all 262 stores across 16 counties through November and December as shoppers took on the challenge in these uncertain times to give children who may otherwise have gone without a gift to unwrap on Christmas Day.
All of the presents were then shared out via local charities, community groups, food banks and hospices who handed them to as many children as possible to help spread much-needed festive cheer.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op chief executive, said: “On behalf of everyone involved with our Society, I want to say a big thank you to every customer, member and colleague who helped make our Christmas Toybox Appeal another incredible success.
“It is incredibly humbling that kind-hearted people in our communities have donated over 12,000 brand new presents and stocking fillers that are now going to bring smiles to the faces of thousands of youngsters up and down the country as they wake up on Christmas morning.
“We are so overwhelmed by the generosity shown by everyone who has supported this campaign and proud to be involved with some truly inspiring local good causes and charities who work not just at Christmas but all year round to make sure children get great support when they need it most.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped us here at Central England Co-op to give over 12,000 children a gift they will never forget this Christmas.”
Items donated included puzzles, games, soft toys, outdoor toys, books, dolls/figures, CDs/DVDs and art materials, and even children’s bicycles.
Meanwhile, Central England Co-op made a special donation of 200 brand-new scooters to be distributed to children in need across Birmingham this Christmas.
Charity Family Action, which runs services across the country, took delivery of the scooters at its base in Birmingham before they are distributed to families they work with across the city in time for Christmas Day.
The scooter donation comes on top of a donation the retailer made directly to the charity last month of hundreds of toys and games, as well as toys donated by customers and members through the Toybox Appeal.
David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Central England Co-op for their very generous donation of 200 fantastic scooters. We know that the children we support will have so much fun on the scooters and these lovely gifts will help make all their Christmases more magical.”
Other major organisations supported by this year’s Christmas Toybox Appeal as well as Family Action include Rainbows Hospice, Birmingham Salvation Army and The Active Wellbeing Society.
Locally, organisations the Society worked with included Bethany Food Bank (Birmingham), Hinckley Food Bank (Leicestershire), Kettering Food Bank, The Young Ones Burton (Staffordshire), Cromer Food Bank and Harleston Kindness Help Hub (Norfolk).
Kate Golding, head of organisational giving at Rainbows, said: “At Rainbows, we can always put toys to good use for our children, young people and their siblings. We especially love toys that focus on sensory arts and crafts as even those with the most complex of needs can benefit from them.
“We’d like to thank everyone who donated to the appeal, we really appreciate it after what has been a difficult year – Merry Christmas!”