Central England Co-op customers and members got into the festive spirit by donating over 12,000 presents and stocking fillers as part of the retailer’s first ever Christmas Toybox Appeal.
The items were dropped off at special donation points located in all 244 stores across 16 counties or handed over to Santa’s elves as the Co-op Christmas lorry stopped off at 13 locations across the country during the month of November.
All of the presents were then shared out via local charities, community groups and food banks as well as major hospitals and hospices who handed them to as many children as possible to ensure they have something to open on December 25.
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 first ever Christmas Toybox Appeal a major success.
“Kind-hearted people 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 proud of 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. There were also several giant unicorns and dinosaurs as well as bikes, scooters and even a mock Co-op shop.
The major organisations supported include Rainbows Hospice, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Locally, we worked with Erdington Elim Church and Bethany Food Bank (Birmingham), First Steps (Atherstone), House of Bread (Stafford), Hope Centre (Derby), Hinckley Food Bank (Leicestershire), Rutland Food Bank, Bassatlaw Food Bank (Nottingham), Kettering Food Bank, New Hope Food Bank (Yorkshire), Cromer Food Bank (Norfolk), the Need Project (Bedfordshire), Yaxley Food Bank (St Ives) and Lichfield Food Bank.
Kate Golding, head of organisational giving at Rainbows, said: “On behalf of everyone at Rainbows, I would like to say the biggest thank you to all those who have donated to this very special appeal. People are so kind and we are very grateful for all of the toys that will benefit the children, young people and their siblings here at Rainbows.”