AN X Factor finalist has leant his support to the Toys and Teens appeal run by Reading Family Aid.

Danyl Johnson, a finalist on the X Factor in 2009, has shown his support for the appeal which is sponsored by The Reading Chronicle and collects and redistributes new or ‘as new’ toys, to deprived 0 – 16 year olds at Christmas.

READ ALSO: Reading's Toys and Teens Appeal well underway.

Mr Johnson, who devotes his time to volunteering in Reading, said: “Working and visiting schools, it can be eye opening.

"The things we take for granted like having breakfast before starting our day, and even having clean clothes.

"Some children don’t even have that.

"Add the pressure of Christmas and it can make life a lot harder, it can put people in debt and it just keeps going.

"Reading Family Aid is that helping hand."

READ ALSO: Reading Football Club legend shows support for Toys and Teens Appeal.

He thinks supporting the toy appeal this year is “beyond important".

He added: "It takes pressure off the parents and the smile on children’s faces is priceless.

"Just donating a toy can and will change Christmas for these families."

In just over a week’s time the donated toys will be transported from the collection points and storage units at Big Yellow to a hall in order to be sorted, packed and gifted to disadvantaged young people in Reading.

It is estimated that over 4,000 hours are donated to the Toys and Teens appeal each year, with dozens of volunteers rolling up their sleeves to get involved for the incredible cause.

Reading Family Aid is chaired by Ruth Perkins who started volunteering in 2002 after answering an advert for a van driver.

She explained: “These kids seem to have so little to smile about.

“That’s what the Toys & Teens is all about, putting smiles on their faces.”

Ruth remembers a time that opened her eyes to the charity’s great work.

She said: “I took a bag of toys to a family once.

"When I knocked on the door there was no reply, so I tried again and a few moments later a woman appeared round the side of the house.

"I think she was nervous, perhaps thinking I had come to get money from her.

"She couldn’t believe it when I said why I was there and showed her the sack.

"She said she was sitting in a chair with her head in her hands, wondering how she would get her children anything for Christmas, and fearing that once again they would have to go without.

"Then I showed up like an ‘angel from heaven,’ needless to say we were both in tears.”

Stories like these are proof that every toy, gift, monetary donation, or hour volunteered lending a hand, really does make a difference.

The donation points are open today and remain open until Sunday December 1.

For more information, please click here.

If you can’t reach one of the donation points, please see Reading Family Aid's Amazon wish list - any toys purchased will be delivered directly to the charity.


Caversham Homecraft, Caversham

Caversham Library, Caversham

Dynamic Family Chiropractic (new addition)

New Bridge Nursery, Caversham

Crescent Centre, Earley

St Barnabas Church, Emmer Green

Lower Earley Library

The Club at Mapledurham, Chazey Heath

Big Yellow Storage, 27 Rose Kiln Lane

Southcote Library

Leighton Park School

Spencers Wood Library

Birch Copse Primary School, Tilehurst

Norcot Early Years Centre, Tilehurst

Tilehurst Library

Civic Centre, Reading Town Centre

Reading Farmer’s Market, Reading Town Centre

Reading Voluntary Action (RVA), Reading Town Centre

Sainsbury's, (Friar Street), Reading Town Centre

Skipton Building Society, 30 Queen Victoria Street (new addition)

World Shop, Reading Town Centre

Interserve, Twyford

Battle Library, West Reading

Tesco Extra, Portman Road

Winnersh Primary School

The Oakwood Centre, Woodley

Willow Bank Junior School, Woodley

Woodley Library