Toy appeal and food parcel drive to bring joy and nourishment to those in need this Christmas

Salvation Army Toy Appeal collage

As the holiday season approaches, the Salvation Army has received bundles of donations, as part of its annual toy and food parcel appeal.

Volunteers sorted through hundreds of donations to tailor packages that will go to support families in need in West Lindsey.

The Salvation Army, which runs the annual appeal received support from churches, village halls, schools and individuals. All of the items will provide children in less fortunate circumstances with a brighter and more festive holiday experience.

Major Colin Bradshaw, Minister of Religion at the Salvation Army in Gainsborough said: 

“We have had a good response from our appeal, and we have toys gifted to us for children of all ages from 0-16. If a family has a 17- or 18-year-old at home, we always try and pop something in for them too.”

As well as gifts of games, toys and selection boxes, families also get a food parcel which includes some luxury items such as biscuits, custard and chocolates.

Major Bradshaw added: 

“Every child on our list has been assessed as being the poorest in the community. What we are doing is about giving hope and raising aspirations of local children, trapped in poverty by knowing that the community and the church care.”

Although the toys are wrapped and ready to be distributed, many urgent requests will come in closer to Christmas from families fleeing domestic abuse. Major Bradshaw said financial donations are important to help support requests when they come in. 

Leader and Deputy Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Trevor Young and Cllr Lesley Rollings were invited to pack toys and meet the volunteers.

Cllr Young said seeing the generosity of local people and seeing the work of the volunteers is something he will be thinking about on Christmas Day. He said: 

“It is fantastic in terms of seeing the amount of donations, and it’s all going to help families at a time of need – which will be very much appreciated. 

“There is a huge expectation at Christmas for families to not only buy presents but to stock up on good food. It can be a real struggle for families who are doing well, just to get by each week and initiatives like this will help those families a lot and prevent them from getting into further debt.”

Cllr Rollings carefully selected items to match the profile of the children on the lists. She said: 

“I am moved by the generosity of the people who have donated all these items. The toys we are packing, maybe the only toys some children receive. I can’t help but imagine the faces of the children who will open up these presents on Christmas morning. I would like to thank everyone who has supported this worthy initiative.” 

Deputy Mayor of Gainsborough Town Council, James Plastow invited the West Lindsey District Councillors to see the work first hand. He said: 

“We do this every year. It’s nice for those children to wake up on Christmas morning with a little something. It’s also good for parents as well as they are struggling and get to see their children receive something and can have a nice food parcel to enjoy as well.” 

Volunteer Anthea Steel has been volunteering at the Salvation Army for 7 years. She said:

 “There are so many children that have not got anything. Christmas is important to them and we like to send the message that Jesus loves them - but the presents shows that everyone loves them. The volunteers really appreciate where the donations are all going to.”

Although the ongoing efforts of donations are fantastic, the demand for food assistance remains high, with approximately 200 individuals accessing the local food bank at the Salvation Army, each week. 

Many families in the community continue to face food insecurity. Figures show that 50% of those supported at this food bank are pensioners and 25% are people on low paid employment. 

Malcolm Shepherd (77) of Gainsborough, has been volunteering for 12 years and is the food bank coordinator.

He said: 

“At this time of year, it never ceases to amaze me, people’s generosity of toys and food. Throughout the year, we have supported for the food bank as well. 

“Everyone is struggling but people are prepared to give us what they can for the benefit of those in need.  We are only open two days a week and we give out 200 food parcels in that time, prior to covid this was only 30.”

Despite generous donations, the Salvation Army are appealing for donations of non-perishable food items which are crucial to sustaining the food bank's ability to meet the ongoing demand. 

To support the Salvation Army's initiatives, individuals and businesses are urged to donate non-perishable food items, and funds to ensure a meaningful impact in the community. 

People can donate money by visiting the Salvation Army Facebook page or by scanning a QR code on the many posters around the town. 

Drop-off locations for food donations can be found at: 

  • Gainsborough Salvation Army, Beaumont Street - Mondays and Fridays 9am to 1pm / Sundays 9:30 to 12pm. 
    Money / Cheques (payable to The Salvation Army) can also be sent by post here. 
  • Gainsborough Salvation Army Charity Shop, Queensway - Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

The Gainsborough Salvation Army Toy Appeal has so far provided 330 Children with brand new toys and 136 families with Christmas hampers.

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