A Winter Toy Appeal which collects new toys for children in extreme poverty is marking its 10th anniversary.
The appeal, run by the Local Buyers Club in partnership with Location Location estate agency, typically reaches around 5,000 children in North and East London – children who would be unlikely to receive a new gift otherwise.
This year, with the cost-of-living crisis impacting families hard, organisers are bracing themselves for the toughest winter yet.
Jenna Fansa, co-founder of the Local Buyers Club, launched the appeal with her husband Basil when their son was a baby. She said: “When you run charitable appeals like this it’s natural to hope that one day things will improve and the need will go down – sadly that hasn’t been the case. Year on year since we launched, the agencies which refer to us have more children who meet the criteria for a gift.
“We know from the likes of Hackney Foodbank that poverty is worsening in Hackney – that parents go hungry so their children can eat and that the heating stays off even throughout the coldest months. We cannot bear the thought that for some children poverty is threatening to chip away at the magic of Christmas. A sense of fairness and equality sets in at a very early age – I’d urge everyone who can to donate.
“We are so very grateful to Location Location for their support since the beginning – this appeal means so much to us all and they have made the process so very lovely.”
Among the agencies who distribute toys for the appeal are Hackney and Haringey councils, children’s centres, schools, food banks and refuges. People can buy toys online via the Appeal Wish Lists or shop at participating stores.
Money raised via a Go Fund Me page is spent directly with independent toy shops in London.
Among the agencies who distribute toys for the appeal are Hackney and Haringey councils, children’s centres, schools, food banks and refuges. People can buy toys online via the Appeal Wish Lists or donate in person at Location Location estate agency (new toys only please).
Vicky Bibiris, a Partner at Location Location, added: “This is the highlight of our year – it’s hard to believe 10 years have passed. Each year we’re blown away by the kindness of the community – so many people have made supporting the toy appeal part of their Christmas tradition and we’re so very grateful for their kindness and generosity.
“There’s an incredible camaraderie amongst the toy appeal team – our shared purpose of ensuring children don’t go without a gift at Christmas and the hard graft that goes with planning, shopping and sorting so many toys, has made for really wonderful friendships.”
Supporters are urged to spend around £15 on a gift – for many children this is the only toy they’ll receive at Christmas and organisers are keen to ensure gifts are roughly of equal value and feel substantial and special.
How to donate
You can buy toys at Stoke Newington Toy Shop (tell them it’s for the Toy Appeal and you’ll receive 20% off) – please leave them in store for the team to collect.
Shop in store at The Toybox in Victoria Park Road (please leave donations in store for the team to collect)
Order online via the Toy Appeal Wish lists (toys will be delivered direct to the appeal.
Donate to the Appeal’s Go Fund Me page
To support the appeal, visit www.wintertoyappeal.com