Toy appeal reaches 3,500 of Hackney’s poorest children


3,500 children living in desperate poverty in and around Hackney will receive new gifts this Christmas thanks to the generosity of an incredible community.

For the fourth year running the Winter Toy and Food Appeal, which is run by family website StokeyParents in partnership with Location Location estate agency and the Local Buyers Club, has had a tremendous response.

Over 4,000 new toys were collected and given out as big presents and stocking fillers to children in most need. The toys, which filled a lorry and two vans, covered most of the floor of the Ivy Street Family Centre. It took 15 volunteers an entire day to sort them into specially labelled bags ready for collection.

Claire Reay, of the Ivy Street Family Centre which distributes the toys, said most people were moved to tears when they saw the quality and volume of gifts donated. She added: “Many of the children who receive gifts through this appeal wouldn’t have a Christmas without it.”

Over 24 agencies received toys to pass on to children in most need – they included social workers, hostels, children’s centres, schools, women’s refuges, a hospital, Hackney Food Bank, a hospice and Hackney Migrant Centre.

Jenna Fansa, of StokeyParents, added: “We love working with Claire Reay at the Ivy Street Family Centre – by December we’re both nervous wrecks worrying if we’ll get enough. Claire and I have come to feel the weight of responsibility for making Christmas special for every child, but it turns out we needn’t worry; the entire community has shouldered that responsibility and come up trumps.

“For the families these toys reach, this gesture represents so much more than just a gift. We’ve no interest in swooping in and giving the toys direct to children – they’re passed to their parents so they have the joy of giving something new. We hope they feel the warmth of a community who care greatly and we hope that beyond the initial excitement of opening a new present, the children enjoy playing with them for a long time to come.

“We’ve been blown away by the response this year – I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who donated and to the teams at Location Location and the Local Buyers Club who sponsored the appeal and devoted many, many hours to helping deliver the toys to the centre.”

As well as donating an estimated £35,000 worth of toys, locals also donated the equivalent to hundreds of meals for Hackney Food Bank.

Numerous schools and companies supported the appeal and acted as drop-off points.

Among those supporting the appeal were Benthal, Betty Layward, William Patten, Rosemary Works, Tyssen and Grazebrook Primary Schools. N16 Tots, Phoenix Nursery, Sandbrook Community Playgroup and N is for Nursery also helped as did St Mary's Church, Tiny Time Music, L'epicerie 56, the Deli Downstairs, Bourne's Fishmongers, Vintner's Framers and Askew Eyewear,

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