A record-breaking 22,145 needy children in West Yorkshire will have a Christmas gift to open tomorrow thanks to Mission Christmas supporters.
Through to the incredible support of readers, the YEP-backed toy appeal has succeeded in helping more vulnerable and deprived children in our region than ever before.
The news comes just over a week after we sounded a call to action after appeal organisers, Radio Aire’s Cash for Kids charity, voiced fears that they might not be able to meet soaring demand this year.
Having helped around 18,000 children last year, Cash for Kids were met with a surge of applications from group’s supporting young people who were likely to otherwise go without a gift on Christmas Day 2015.
Lisa Sullivan, Cash for Kids charity manager, said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the public this year, we can not believe how many children we have helped.”
She explained that the appeal has seen a substantial growth this year, which the charity puts down to the increase in the cost of living, welfare reforms and worrying poverty rates.
The charity 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.
As part of Mission Christmas we asked readers to donate new and unwrapped gifts, suitable for babies to 18 year olds, at drop-off points across the city.
Several companies also chose to back the campaign by donating gifts, money and even volunteer hours to distribute the toys. Finance firm Foresters donated £750 of gifts and sent in volunteer helpers last week.
Once collected, the gifts were distributed to children through organisations such as Martins House Hospice, Candlelighters, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Barnardos and children’s centres.
Nicola Furbisher, the YEP’s managing editor, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that so many more children will wake up to a gift this Christmas.
“We would like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who took the time to donate – you have made a massive difference.”