Mission accomplished as Leeds United assist Cash For Kids charity for Christmas Day

LEEDS UNITED have provided a crucial helping hand to the Cash For Kids charity in a bid to make it mission accomplished in ensuring every child in has a present to open on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 2:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 3:18 pm

The Radio Aire Cash For Kids Mission Christmas appeal aims to ensure that every child in West Yorkshire receives a Christmas present with the charity hoping to hand out 26,038 gifts by the end of the week.

The charity were still some 6,000 gifts short on Wednesday but six members of United's first team squad arrived at the appeal's The Store Room headquarters in Millshaw armed with bags of presents and a cash donation.

Whites captain Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Kiko Casilla, Stuart Dallas, Barry Douglas and Pablo Hernandez were all on hand to become Santa's elves with other members of the Whites squad set to continue the club's stellar work in the community through their annual visit to the Leeds Children's Hospital on Thursday.

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Lisa Sullivan, Cash For Kids' charity manager, hailed the involvement of Leeds United in the Mission Christmas appeal as a "dream come true" and Whites skipper Cooper who himself is a young dad said he wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's amazing and we can make a difference," said Cooper.

"We are so fortunate in the lives that we lead and it's always nice to come and help the less fortunate.

"It's sad and when this came up I jumped at the chance so we as a group have come together. It's a no-brainer for us.

SANTA'S WHITES ELVES: Left to right, Leeds United players Barry Douglas, captain Liam Cooper, Kiko Casilla, Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez drop off gifts as part of the Radio Aire Cash For Kids Mission Christmas appeal. Picture by Simon Hulme.

"We have made a donation and we wanted to come and help out and see what goes on. The people here are amazing, it's an amazing charity with what they do and if we can make one child smile on Christmas Day then everything is worthwhile.

"We are delighted to be able to do that and we thank the Cash For Kids charity for allowing us to come down and spread the awareness.

"It's so sad that this is still going on in this day and age and it's a real eye-opener to see these things.

"It happens all over the country, it's not just Leeds, and the more awareness that can be spread and the more people that can be helped the better. It's such an amazing charity and they are doing great things."

IN SAFE HANDS: Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Charity manager Sullivan explained that various organisations including social workers, schools, children's centres, food banks and women's refuges would get in touch on behalf of families living in poverty. A host of volunteers would then hop on their Santa's sleighs to distribute the gifts in time for Christmas Day.

Hailing the impact the involvement of Leeds United would have, Sullivan said: "It's been a dream of mine since I started with this charity six years ago to get Leeds United involved. It's fantastic.

"We cherish every single supporter that we get, every gift and every single penny that comes in.

"But to have somebody there as high profile as Leeds United come down is a massive boost to this appeal and hopefully then even more people will know about Mission Christmas and we can just grow and grow this charity."

Reflecting on what gifts and donations had been popular for the 2019 appeal, Sullivan smiled: "There's been a lot of Frozen items which is probably no surprise.

"We have had a few LOL things donated as well but what we have asked people to really focus on for the older children is the non-technology based items.

"If we were buying for our children and nieces and nephews we might buy then iTunes or things that rely in technology.

"But these kids don't have the luxury of having the internet so we have to go right back to basics and we tell people to look at things like old fashioned jigsaw, board games and toiletries which are really really important.

"If you are a teenage lad and you are going to open a lovely bottle of aftershave and you are going to get nothing else, that fantastic bottle of aftershave is brilliant.

"Electrical things, even things like hair straighteners and hairdryers, stuff that we all take for granted basically."