WITH the festive season on the way the Salvation Army in Trowbridge are getting ready to launch their Christmas toy appeal for children who might not receive a present from Santa this year.

Every year the appeal donates new toys to underprivileged kids in the UK who have been referred by social services. They have many drop off points where people can bring their donations.

Charity Co-ordinator, John Hauselman, said: “I will be getting a list from social services soon with families and from that we select toys that go to the kids. We help pre-born up to 18 years.

"The public are so generous which we really appreciate.

“Last year we gave out one big present and a socking filler. Then we start collating the toys ready to go out the beginning of December.”

“There is a raft of places where we get toys from and lots of people help. There is a local man who makes wooden toys every year for the past few years. And another lady who knits lots of jumpers, so people are very generous which we appreciate.”

They start collecting toys from November 14 until close to Christmas.

“We ask that the toys come unwrapped so we can see what the toy actually is so it can be given to the appropriate gender and age. And actually, parents like wrapping them up so that they have that they feel they are experiencing the spirit of it too.”

“All the toys donated stay within the area. So, they stay within the social workers catchment. Lots of families benefit and the number we give out to has doubled. It’s a team effort so we can get the gifts to the social workers.”

“We would like gifts for older children as well as they are more difficult to buy for compared to toddlers. We just ask that people bear in mind older children as well. So, for boys it could be toiletry items, DVD’s, books, electronics that sort of thing. And for girls similar or perhaps hair accessories, makeup or toiletry sets.

“If we have lots of presents left over, we give it to the social services, and it will be given out over the following few months for a variety of things.

“We have been overwhelmed by the families who need help.

“The generosity of the readers has been phenomenal, so we’ve been gobsmacked by the response from the public who have stepped up. We couldn’t do it without the people around us.”

Organisers last year gave out over 400 presents with more expected this year.

Salvation Army territorial envoy in Wiltshire, Michala Lancefield, said: “The reason we do it first and foremost is that we’re a Christian church so to show the love of god. It’s the perfect time to show it because Christmas is a time of giving and it support as many people as we can in our communities.

"Churches and charities have seen an increase for request in help so that will have an impact on donations. It’s a community effort so it’s the community supporting community. "

People can drop the toys off at the Salvation Army hall in Castle Street, Trowbridge, Tesco Extra, Trowbridge, the management office in the Shires and Morrisons in Warminster and Westbury.