Vulnerable and deprived children across West Yorkshire are at risk of waking up on Christmas Day without a gift to open – unless more people support the YEP-backed toy appeal this week.
The organisers of the annual Mission Christmas appeal have voiced fears that they might not be able to meet soaring demand this year after receiving applications on behalf of a record 20,000 needy children.
Radio Aire’s Cash for Kids charity has revealed that many more new and unwrapped gifts are needed before the gift donation deadline, which is Sunday at Crown Point Shopping Park and Friday at Radio Aire, off Burley Road, in Kirkstall.
The charity says applications from organisations on behalf of needy children in our region have increased by over 10 per cent compared to last year.
Lisa Sullivan, Cash for Kids charity manager, said: “The worst case scenario is that there are children left without a gift – and I can’t let that happen.
“We can’t leave for Christmas knowing there’s children’s applications in that folder that will not get fulfilled.”
She claims that there are more than 39,000 people living in poverty in our region, which means more struggling families are accessing food banks and seeing Christmas presents as luxury items.
New and unwrapped gifts can be handed in at drop-off points across the city or virtual gifts can be bought online or through text donations.
Cash for Kids is appealing for presents suitable for babies right up to 18 year olds but has a particular need for gifts for children aged nine to 18 such as books, watches, board games, hats, scarves and toiletry sets.
Once collected, the gifts are distributed to children through organisations such as Martins House Hospice, Candlelighters, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Barnardos and children’s centres.
Last year more than £900,000 worth of gifts were donated to ensure 18,000 needy children had a Christmas to remember.
Nicola Furbisher, managing editor of the YEP, said: “We believe every child deserves for their Christmas wishes to come true.
“We would love for readers to back us once again and make the donations that will mean so much to young people in our region.”
Visit radioaire.co.uk/mission for a full list of drop-off points or to donate a virtual gift online for as little as £5.
You can also donate £5 by texting AIRE to 70808.