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Winter Toy Appeal

Winter toy appeal responds to devastating poverty

“Please buy a toy for a child in Hackney who would otherwise go without this winter.”

That’s the plea from the organiser of an annual toy appeal as the rising cost of living and welfare cuts and sanctions hit the most vulnerable hard.

It’s sixth year that we've run the Winter Toy and Food Appeal in partnership with The Local Buyers Club – last year more than 4,000 children received a gift and hundreds of meals were donated to local food banks.

The appeal is sponsored by local estate agency Location Location on Stoke Newington Church Street, which also provides a place to donate.

Organiser Jenna Fansa said: “It’s a sad sign of the times that more and more families are struggling to make ends meet. We’re hearing about families of four living in one room in terrible damp conditions and without enough food, we’re hearing of families who have no access to public funds and those fleeing domestic violence with only the clothes on their back.

“Each year an amazing network of staff at local organisations put together a list of the children they work with who are experiencing desperate poverty and these are the children our toys reach.”

Toys are distributed by the Ivy Street Family Centre in Hoxton via an expanding network of social workers, refuges, hostels, children’s centres, schools, hostels and food banks,

Jenna added: “Every year I’m moved to tears by the generosity of local people gifts for people in their community they’ve never even met. It’s a very real demonstration to those experiencing hard times that people care about them and want to help.”

Clare Reay, Acting Manager of the Ivy Street Family Centre, which coordinates the gift distribution, said: “We regularly see parents who can't afford to eat - they certainly couldn't buy a gift for their children at Christmas. Thanks to the Winter Toy & Food Appeal those families have a gift to give and their children have the pleasure of opening something new.

"We and the families we support are always incredibly moved by the kindness of strangers."

For information about how to give visit www.wintertoyappeal.com

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