Urgent appeal for Christmas gift donations as referrals soar

A Christmas present appeal designed to support people struggling to afford gifts for their children is feeling the pressure of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis as toy donations dip and referrals soar.  

The Salvation Army in Birkenhead is urgently appealing for members of the local community to add an extra gift to their shopping list for children aged seven and over to donate to its annual Christmas Present Appeal as it struggles to keep up with demand from social workers and schools all working to support children whose families cannot put food on the table, heat their homes or pay their bills. 

The church and charity, located on Vincent Street, has extended its deadline date for donations to Friday, 15 December, to meet demand as referrals look set to surpass last year’s figure for the appeal with more than 300 children needing support.  

The distribution process takes place through The Salvation Army’s own networks; local charities, schools and social services.

Major Hamilton, church leader of The Salvation Army in Birkenhead, is expecting the number of referrals to continue to grow as Christmas Day gets closer. He said, “Christmas is usually a time of joy but with the ongoing cost of living crisis we’re seeing a large amount of people needing urgent, last-minute support as the prospect of their child having no presents to open sadly becomes a reality.  

“In the challenging times that everyone is facing, we have witnessed the sad truth that people who once could generously donate are now finding themselves in difficult situations. We’re appealing to anyone that can donate even just one gift and help us to help those struggling within our community.

“Everyone coming together to support those less fortunate is what the Christmas story inspires us to do, and we are pleased to be a small part of that.” 

Typically, a gift sack would include one big gift, a smaller gift and stocking fillers, then a boardgame for the family. Major Hamilton added, “As we are sorting and packing the gift parcels, we are realising that the donations aren’t keeping up with the demand this year as more families than ever are pushed into poverty and we are at the stage now of whether to make the agonising decision to adjust how much we give to each child. 

“We want to thank everyone that has already donated and makes our Christmas Present Appeal a success every year; we will always deliver in helping the people struggling within our community and we will ensure that no child goes without.” 

People wishing to donate can drop their generous contribution at the church and community centre on Vincent Street  and people that prefer to make a financial donation can do so via Just Giving www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thesalvationarmychristmas-2023-050  which will be used to purchase gifts needed for certain age groups.  

A church and charity, The Salvation Army expresses its Christian faith by offering friendship, practical help and support to some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities. To help support The Salvation Army’s year-round work please visit: salvationarmy.org.uk/donate  

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