Appeal for toy donations as more families struggle to buy Christmas gifts

The Salvation Army has opened a donation point at Palace Exchange Shopping Centre

The Salvation Army base in Fore Street, Edmonton Green
The Salvation Army base in Fore Street, Edmonton Green

The Salvation Army in Enfield has made an appeal for toy donations to help support families in need over the festive season – with three times as many children needing help as last year.

Every year, Salvation Army leaders across the country meet hundreds of distressed parents facing the prospect of their children having nothing to open on Christmas Day. The church and charity is concerned that the cost of living crisis will mean even more families struggling to pay for basics over Christmas.

A drop-off point for donations has now opened at Palace Exchange Shopping Centre in Enfield Town, making use of a previously vacant unit.

Glenn Furlong, a Salvation Army church leader in Enfield, said: “Every year we ask people to donate new toys and gifts to our Christmas present appeal, so we can distribute them to families whose children would otherwise not receive a gift.

“This year, we are helping 300 children, more than three times the numbers we did last year.

The drop-off point at Palace Exchange is open for donations from 10.30am until 2.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

Glenn thanked management at the shopping centre and said: “Our band has played carols in the centre over a number of years so we had a conversation with the management and asked if they could help – they gave us a unit on two floors, which is also being used as a warm space.

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“I’m so grateful this has been able to happen and to all those who have contributed, the volunteers who have staffed the shop and the other local churches who have supported us. Working in collaboration has been a blessing for us and the community coming together to help each other is so important.

“We have had some wonderful donations. A six-year-old girl called Sasha asked friends at her birthday party to donate to our present appeal and handed over £30 in a jar.

“Recently, we were deeply moved when a father came into our drop-in shop and explained that as a family they had received our help last Christmas, so this year the children had been saving their pocket money to buy gifts for other children in need and handed over what they’d saved to gift presents to others this year.” 

Paul Duke, centre manager, said he was pleased to be able to help. “We see this as a way in which the whole of the Palace Shopping Centre’s community can come together to support those families struggling this Christmas.

“We host the Salvation Army band every year and are delighted to be able to support the extended Salvation Army family with this worthy campaign.”

The Salvation Army will sort and distribute the gifts to children and families in the area through its existing networks and via local groups and social services.

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