ELBA Toy Appeal 2018 – Let’s make this the biggest appeal yet!

 In Community, News

Last year’s Toy Appeal was a great success with over 10,000 toys donated and distributed to children in east London and Islington. The appeal has grown year on year from a humble collection of presents under someone’s desk to the large operation it is now with employees from over 40 companies donating toys to support over 50 community organisations. As well donating toys, hundreds of volunteers supported the appeal by volunteering with the community partners receiving toys to wrap their toys and help at their festive parties. Some lucky volunteers even got to dress up as Santa!

While it’s easy to celebrate the success and scale of the appeal, the sad reality is that there were over 10,000 children that may not have otherwise received a gift at Christmas if it wasn’t for the Toy Appeal. And more who we weren’t able to reach. The festive period can be a tough time for many but for families that are seriously struggling financially or going through a time of crisis, celebrating the holiday and buying gifts is not a priority. The generosity of everyone that donates a toy brings a small bit of happiness to a child and relieves some of the pressure families can feel around Christmas.

We all know that Christmas can be an expensive time of year but for people living below the breadline it can be especially stressful. One parent spoke with her key worker after receiving gifts for her three children:

‘‘(One mother) was crying and said that we had ‘saved Christmas’ as she was terrified of not being able to make Christmas special for her children and felt she was massively letting them down. With the Toy Appeal we were able to give her gifts and made her feel worthy – therefore a complete transformation.”

The Toy Appeal supports a wide variety of organisations including children’s centres, hospital wards, food banks, primary schools, community centres, adventure playgrounds and women’s refuges. The families and children they work with come from a range of backgrounds and may be fleeing domestic violence, refugees, living in extreme poverty, living in temporary accommodation or children caring for older relatives.

One of the support workers from a primary school explained the living situation of one of the families that she works with and how the appeal helped them:

‘‘The mother depends on food bank vouchers weekly and the family of three are supported by the local authority in a one bedroom, shared accommodation. They receive a small allowance of £20.00 per week. Three in a room has certainly been challenging for all members of the family. However, the donations ensured the children were able to have presents to open on Christmas together and spend some quality time together.”

With more than 32,000 children living below the poverty line in Tower Hamlets alone, we want to make this year’s Toy Appeal even bigger to try to support even more children and families in this small way. Let’s work together to make this the biggest Toy Appeal yet!

It is easy for you to get involved with this year’s Toy Appeal; you can donate toys via a company John Lewis Gift List or, you can set up an internal collection and then deliver the toys to our grotto. To find out more, contact your Corporate Responsibility team or Abi from ELBA at abigail.micallef@elba-1.org.uk to find out the ways your company are supporting the Toy Appeal and how you can get involved.

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