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Children’s reading facing Christmas without gifts skyrockets ‘500%’

The number of children facing Christmas without gifts this year has jumped 500% from 2002, according to a charity.

Nearly 3,000 children have registered with Reading Family Aid for gifts, as parents “struggle to keep homes and feed their children”.

The charity Appeal of toys and teenagerssponsored by The Reading Chronicle, aims to fill the gap, but a 20-year-old volunteer said the growing demand was “scary”.

“Everyone thinks Reading is a pretty wealthy place, but there are huge areas of deprivation and the gap between those who have and those who haven’t seems to be growing. It’s pretty bleak,” he said. said Ruth Perkins, of Reading.

READ MORE – Toys & Teens Appeal 2022: Could you help give a gift this Christmas?

“The number of children has only increased. When I started participating I think there were around 500 and we are just under 3,000 this year. That’s 3,000 kids reading who otherwise wouldn’t have Christmas presents, so that’s really scary.

She continued: “It’s always a little stressful – are we going to match the number of donations to the number of children?”

Reading Chronicle: A sampling of some of the toys donated to Reading Family Aid this yearA sampling of some of the toys donated to Reading Family Aid this year (Picture: NewsQuest)

The Toys and Teens campaign invites people to donate gifts or money to help make Christmas more special for children who will receive nothing this festive season.

One organization making a difference is the John Sykes Foundation, which donated £1,000 to the cause on Friday November 18.

Founder John Sykes said: “Every child should feel the excitement of waking up to gifts under the tree, but we know that for some families, after a difficult year, they are struggling to cope day by day. day, and for some it’s a matter of putting food on the table or giving presents.

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Schools, churches, businesses and individuals raised 2,500 donations last year, but as the cost of living crisis hits winter, help is needed more than ever.

“Parents are really struggling,” Reading Deputy Mayor Councilor Debs Edwards said.

“Reading is supposed to be a pretty wealthy place, but there are such big pockets of deprivation and we have a lot of parents who are really worried – trying to keep their jobs and keep their homes, feed their children – and sometimes Christmas is just a cracker and a sandwich.

She continued: “I’m so proud that John Sykes has focused on Reading, we really need that.”

There are 28 donation points in Reading and surrounding areas that generous residents can visit, listed below.

If you work for a company based in or near Reading, consider hosting a toy drive in your office or donating to one of Reading’s donation points.

Please visit our toy donation page at readingfamilyaid.org/donate-toys.html for information on how to donate and what can (and cannot) be donated.

There is also a GoFundMe call online at https://gofund.me/5038d766.

The money donated buys gifts for age groups that aren’t usually planned, like teenagers, as well as batteries for toys, and provides an easier way to donate for those who don’t. do not have access to donation points.

LISTED: drop off points for donations in and around Reading

  • Caversham Homecraft, Church Road – Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm
  • Fourbears Books, Prospect Street – Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday 11am to 2.30pm
  • Caversham Library, Church Road – Tuesday and Friday 9am-5pm, Thursday 1pm-7pm, Saturday 10am-3pm
  • New Bridge Nursery, Montague Street – Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm
  • The Heights Primary School, Upper Woodcote Road – Monday to Friday 8.30am to 3.30pm
  • Earley Crescent Resource Ctr, Warbler Drive – Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 6:00pm, Friday 8:30am – 3:30pm, Saturday 8:30am – 12:00pm
  • St Barnabas Church, Grove Road – Tuesday 8.30am-11am, Wednesday 10.30am-11.30am, Sunday 9am-11am
  • Christchurch Centre, Reading Road – Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm
  • Lower Earley Library, Chalfont Close – Thursday 9.30am-7pm, Saturday 9.30am-4pm
  • The Club at Mapledurham, Chazey Heath – Monday to Friday 6.30am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 6.30am to 7pm
  • Big Yellow Storage, Rose Kiln Lane – Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9am to 5.30pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
  • Leighton Park School, Shinfield Road (reception) – Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (hours only)
  • Southcote Library, Southcote Community Hub, Coronation Square – Tuesday 9am-12pm and 1pm-7pm, Thursday 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm, Friday 9am-noon, Saturday 10am-1pm
  • Birch Copse Primary School, Wittenham Avenue – 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (timetables only)
  • Co-op Food, School Road – Monday-Saturday 7am-10pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Tilehurst Library, School Road – Monday 9am-5pm, Tuesday 9am-noon, Thursday 1pm-7pm, Saturday 10am-3pm
  • Civic Center, Bridge Street – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
  • Reading Voluntary Action, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square – Monday, Thursday, Friday 10am-5pm
  • Roc Search, King’s Road – Mon-Fri 9am-6pm
  • Battle Library, Oxford Road – Tuesday 1pm-7pm, Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-12pm, Saturday 10am-3pm
  • Tesco Extra, Portman Road – Monday-Saturday 6am-12pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Winnersh Primary School, Greenwood Grove – Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm



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