You're amazing: Gazette toy appeal breaks record

This Is Wiltshire: Salvation Army volunteers, back from left, Val Jones and  Ruth Womack with, front from left, Lisa Goble and Rose Hewer Salvation Army volunteers, back from left, Val Jones and Ruth Womack with, front from left, Lisa Goble and Rose Hewer

Generous Gazette readers have made it a record-breaking year for volunteers who want to make Christmas special for needy children.

More than 250 children will unwrap Christmas presents today thanks to the readers who came forward to back our annual toy appeal in conjunction with the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army Captain Lisa Goble said: “We have done 267 parcels so far and I’ve had requests for another seven.

“That’s the most parcels we’ve ever given out. The highest was two years ago and it was 200, give or take a few, then. I was quite surprised when I added them up and found out it was so many.

“We have had enough toys which has been brilliant because with that many families in previous years we might have struggled. None of this would be possible without people’s generosity.

“I know a lot of people are struggling and several of the agencies who have received toys have said what a big difference it will make to their families.

“Many of these have been in tears wondering how they can cope and some have even said that they were going to cancel Christmas this year and take down the decorations. It’s nice to be able to say, hang on, we can help. We can do something for them.”

Volunteers at the Salvation Army have been working around the clock to sort and distribute your toys, making sure every child receives a present appropriate for their age today.

Capt Goble has also seen a rise in the number of people using the Salvation Army’s food bank and said this type of community effort is needed now more than ever.

She said: “A lot of it has been the change in benefits but some of them are working, they are not all on benefits, so I think the cost of living has just gone up.

“If they have an extra electricity bill this year they just can’t cope because they don’t have the reserves to help them through a crisis.

“It’s nice to be able to work with the paper and all your readers, the agencies and the drop-off points because it’s a team effort. It’s people getting together to help those in the community who are struggling.

“It is a visible demonstration that this is indeed a season of goodwill towards others and there will be many happy children waking up today to find that Santa has visited.

“I just wish I could be a fly on the wall to see their little faces when they unwrap their gifts. That would be the icing on the cake.”

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