Hundreds of children who might otherwise miss out on a gift this Christmas are set to benefit from the Salvation Army’s toy appeal.
Staff have launched a public appeal for toys in a bid to spread Christmas cheer to those less fortunate.
More than 200 families are expected to receive brand new toys for their children as a part of the Christian organisation’s Operation Gifts for Kids.
Salvation Army social worker Bridget Nolan says the gifts go to families that are “doing it tough” over the holidays.
“The concept is a relief for families from the stresses of Christmas,” Bridget says.
“Things are coming up – uniforms, school camps, and they’re expensive.”
She says the support at the “stressful” time of year enables families to pay a bill or afford food instead of shelling out for pricey presents.
“And every child deserves a brand-new toy,” she says.
Eligible families are referred to the Salvation Army from other regional social services.
Salvation Army officer Deane Goldsack says their unique token gift system gives the decision on what their children receive for Christmas back to the parents.
Though the toy appeal has been running for several years, Bridget introduced a token system.
Inspired by the Dunedin Salvation Army and modified for Marlborough three years ago, the system enables parents or care-givers to personally choose gifts for their children from a room specially decorated for the occasion.
Each family gets a free family game and a free book, then, tokens are issued to the family.
Expensive toys cost more tokens.
Bridget says last year, 109 families and about 230 kids received presents through the operation.
And the number is expected to grow this year.
“The public and business supporters have been very generous in the past,” Bridget says.
“We’d like to say thank you to the past supporters in previous years and hope they can support again.”
Donations of new toys for children can be dropped to the Salvation Army Family Store, on Redwood Street, or the Salvation Army Centre on the corner of George and Henry Streets.
Financial donations for toys are also accepted.
This year, the Salvation Army are the recipients of the Kmart Wishing Tree – toys donated to the wishing tree will also go towards Operation Gifts for Kids.
To donate or for more information, call Bridget on 035780990.