Life

How to donate toys and charity Christmas gifts to children

Children across the UK could go without food and presents this Christmas as poverty continues to soar. Here's how to donate charity gifts

Charity Christmas gifts

You might be planning charity Christmas gifts for friends and family this Christmas. But you could give directly to children in need too. Image: Pexels

Christmas is a magical time for so many children – waiting for Santa to arrive, unwrapping presents, feasting on roast dinner. But it is also an expensive time of year, more than ever in the cost of living crisis, and many children will have to go without this Christmas. If you’ve ever considered giving a Christmas gift or donating a toy to a child who might otherwise not receive one, now is the time.

There are a number of ways to give presents to disadvantaged kids, from toy drives to cash donations and Christmas dinners. Read on to find out how you could give a child a reason to smile with charity Christmas gifts.

Donate a toy to a child in need

The Salvation Army is teaming up with toy shop The Entertainer again this year to give gifts to even more children across the UK who would otherwise go without.

For every toy donated by the public to the Big Toy Appeal, the retailer will match it to provide an extra toy for a disadvantaged family at Christmas.

Since 2018, The Big Toy Appeal has provided over 110,000 gifts to children.

Tony Daniels, director for community services for The Salvation Army, said: “No child should feel the sadness of not receiving a gift on Christmas Day, just because their parents can’t afford life’s basics. 

“The Big Toy Appeal is needed more than ever, and while we know pretty much everyone is affected by the cost of living, we hope the people who can afford to will once again dig deep to support the children in our communities who have nothing.”

The Big Toy Appeal will run in all UK stores, as well as online. The appeal closes on 25 November. Find out more here.

Donate a toy at your local supermarket

Lidl has also announced the the return of its nationwide toy donation drive this Christmas. Customers can drop off new and unopened toys and games to the stores’ toy banks, to be gifted to children who need support in their local area.

Donations can be anything from a small stocking filler to a prized toy. Sought-after items include toys, games, books, puzzles, and arts and crafts, for a range of ages.

The donated toys will then be collected by local charities participating in Lidl’s Feed it Back scheme, coordinated by Neighbourly, alongside the food they pick up weekly. They will donate the toys via local charities and community groups such as food banks and community centres.

Donate a toy to a child in Ukraine

You can also donate a toy to a child in Ukraine through Find Refuge’s Circle of Toys campaign.

Arthur Corvin Powells, the founder of Find Refuge, said: “Children deeply need the warmth of love and care, the experience of growing and discovering the world through play, and the assurance that dreams can come true. If it’s a dream about a toy, making it a reality is often straightforward. So if your children have outgrown a particular toy, consider passing it on. Offer that joy to another child. It’s genuinely that simple!”

To become a part of the initiative, you should visit their website, register and select a request that aligns with the age and theme of the toy. There’s an emphasis on safety so each submission is reviewed first. Once approved, participants will receive the family’s mailing address to send their toy.

Be a secret Santa for a child facing a difficult Christmas

Through Action for Children, you can select a gift for a child in need to brighten their festive season.

For £25 you can pay for a young person’s Christmas present, or £5 will get them a teddy bear. And for £40 you could buy them a full day of meals. It makes sure UK kids are less likely to go hungry this winter as the cost of living crisis escalates. 

Alternatively, donate £10 for a child to visit Santa, keep them warm with £65 worth of winter clothes and bedding, or buy a bed and warm duvet for a child with £150.

Support survivors of domestic abuse

Fleeing domestic abuse often means being left with little but the clothes on one’s back. It can be even more difficult around Christmas, especially with children.

Through Refuge, you can buy charity Christmas gifts for a child or mother which can provide some joy or comfort this festive season.

Putting in £15 will pay for a children’s Christmas parcel, with new toys and games, for kids escaping domestic abuse. A Christmas dinner parcel to help her mum and children have a special day will cost you just £25. Or you could provide a festive feast for 10 families for £250.

A baby’s sleep parcel with a new cot mattress and protector can be donated for £45, or there’s an emergency accommodation parcel for £52.

If you are feeling especially generous, £500 will keep a refuge running over Christmas.



Give a Christmas dinner to a family

Feeding Families began helping families at Christmas by matching a family who needed help with one who could donate a Christmas dinner.

The campaign is called Matched Christmas Dinner. One family buys the food for a family to cook a Christmas Day dinner and delivers it directly to their home.

There are six menus to choose from, to suit all dietary requirements. The charity matches two families and connects them, and the family who needs a Christmas dinner picks the menu that suits them. 

You then have the fun part! You can prepare the Christmas dinner with all the food and treats to make the Christmas special for the receiving family. If everything goes to plan, you will arrange a suitable date to receive your Christmas dinner, close to Christmas, and you can deliver it directly to your family.

Here you’ll find all the information about how to give and receive a Christmas dinner.

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