If the thought of Christmas is making you feel a bit like Scrooge, and you’re wondering if the season has become more about ‘shopping ‘til you drop’ than ‘goodwill to all men’, do not fear. There is a way you can rekindle the true meaning of Christmas.

Thousands of toys donated by the good people of Reading are currently being collected across the town for this year’s Reading Family Aid Toys and Teens Appeal. Sponsored by the Chronicle, the annual appeal brings a little hope and happiness to local families living in desperate need, at a time of year when many feel lost and forgotten about.

The charity’s Toys and Teens Appeal collects and redistributes new or ‘good as new’ toys suitable for ages 0 to16 to disadvantaged families at Christmas. All families have been nominated by social workers and support organisations across the Reading area. The toys are generously donated by individuals, businesses, schools, faith groups etc. and dropped at 28 local donation points; from Theale to Twyford and from Winnersh and Emmer Green to Shinfield.

The donation points will remain open until December 3, after which scores of volunteers will sort, pack and deliver the thousands of donated items to their grateful recipients in time for Christmas Day.

In 2016, the appeal delivered gifts to 1,350 disadvantaged children from over 600 families. This year the charity fully expects that many local families will be facing a particularly difficult Christmas, and with the help of our hugely generous Reading community it aims to help even more families than ever before.

So, if you can pop an extra toy in your shopping basket, or dig out something your children have not played with, you could make a little someone’s Christmas very special.

Public donation points: Sainsbury’s Superstore Calcot, Caversham Homecraft, Caversham Library, New Bridge Nursery, Mirror Mirror Hairdressers, Caversham Park Village, Crescent Centre, Maiden Erlegh Library, St Barnabas Church, Hillside Primary School, Lower Earley Library, The Club at Mapledurham, Southcote Children’s Centre, Southcote Library, Birch Copse Primary School, Co-op Tilehurst, Norcot Early Years Centre, Springfield Primary School, Tilehurst Library Civic Centre, Reading Central Library, Reading Farmers’ Market, Reading Voluntary Action, Sainsbury’s (Friar Street), Big Yellow Storage, Interserve Twyford, Battle Library, The Oakwood Centre, Willow Bank Junior School and Woodley Library.

Please visit www.readingfamilyaid.org/donations for more information.