THE annual Christmas Toys and Teens Appeal has been launched today by the Mayor of Reading who donated the first toy.

The appeal, sponsored by The Reading Chronicle and organised by Reading Family Aid, collects and redistributes new or ‘as new’ toys, suitable for ages 0 – 16, to disadvantaged Reading families at Christmas time.

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Councillor Paul Woodward stressed how important this appeal is to the many families living in desperate need in Reading.

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He said: “I’m very honoured to be launching the Toys and Teens campaign this year.

"I appeal to everybody to give generously and really make a difference to a child at Christmas."

More than 10,000 children in Reading are living in poverty with many families relying on food banks and having to choose between heating or a gift for their children at Christmas.

This is where the Toys and Teens Appeal is here to help.

Mr Woodward added: “You see some aspects of poverty in this town.

"You will see people sleeping on the streets, but you don’t necessarily see the poverty that’s in families."

In 2018, the appeal delivered gifts to 1,600 disadvantaged children from over 600 families in time for Christmas.

One family member who received donations last year said: “You helped me last year with donations to my three young girls.

"I was in a bad domestic violence relationship and since then he has been jailed.

"The girls are very upset - they know their dad isn’t going to be here for Christmas but they still love him and I understand that.

"I’m really struggling, using the food bank most weeks, and I am panicking about Christmas and how I’m going to afford it.

"Please would you be able to help me again this year? Last year you really made a difference.”

This year, please consider picking up an extra gift when shopping for your little ones, or organising a collection at your work, school or place of worship.

Whether it’s a crafty item, jigsaw puzzle, children’s book, toy car or make up for a teenager, all new toy and gift donations are gratefully received.

The donation points are open today and remain open until Sunday December 1, after which scores of volunteers will sort, pack and deliver these items.

For more information, please click here.


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