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Just days left to support the Winter Toy Appeal

Once again locals have been pulling out all the stops to donate new Christmas gifts for children experiencing extreme poverty in Hackney and Islington. The deadline to donate to the Winter Toy & Food Appeal is December 15th and we particularly need gifts for children aged eight and over.

Last year, our appeal reached more than 4,000 children experiencing extreme hardship. This year child poverty has risen locally, and even more children need our help.

Jenna Fansa, of The Local Buyers Club and StokeyParents, founded the appeal with Location Location five years ago. She said: “The levels of deprivation locally are staggering and rising – parents are going without food so their children can eat, families are being housed in temporary accommodation miles from their community and sometimes in hostels which are troubled by violence.

“The rising cost of living coupled with benefits sanctions and stagnating wages means thousands of local families are struggling – many rely on food banks and charities like Growbaby, which provide them with clothes and equipment for their children.

“We’re overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers. The quality of toys this year is wonderful, and our thanks go to everyone who has donated so far. Each year the social workers who give these gifts tofamilies tell of the joy they bring and of the pressure they take off parents.  One mother, who is seeking asylum here after fleeting unimaginable danger, told us the toys they received were the first time they’d been made to feel welcome.

“Imagine knowing you’re the only child in a class who won’t receive a Christmas present – as a community we’re coming together to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Clare Reay, of the Ivy Street Family Centre, said: “For a lot of families this is an absolute game-changer at Christmas. We know there are children who don’t receive anything other than the toys they get from this appeal, so for them this makes the difference between Christmas being Christmas and not actually having Christmas at all.”

Jenna added: “We’re incredibly grateful to Location Location who have been amazing supporters of the appeal since its launch – their help and kindness enables us to reach even more children in need.”

The toys are distributed to children in most need via the Ivy Street Family Centre and a network of hostels, refuges, children’s centres, schools, food banks and Hackney Migrant Centre.

The appeal also collects non-perishable food for local food banks.

To buy a gift via the online wish list visit www.toyappealwishlist.com or to find out more visit www.wintertoyappeal.com

    The deadline to give is December 15th

    Posted 3rd December 2018