THREE charities have thanked generous Press readers and shoppers for helping to save Christmas for hundreds of people in need.

Thousands of toys, teddies, tins of food, games and books have been donated to The Press’s annual Toys & Tins Appeal, which this year has been run in partnership with Monks Cross’ similar annual Give a Gift Appeal.

Some of the gifts have gone to York’s Women’s Aid Refuge, where mothers and their children go to escape from domestic abuse.

Others have gone to the York Carers Centre, which supports carers who look after relatives, friends or neighbours who are ill, frail, disabled or in need of emotional support.

Food items have been given to the Salvation Army, and will go into Christmas food parcels which the organisation will hand out to homeless people and others in need.

Representatives of the three organisations visited Monks Cross Shopping Centre yesterday to collect their gifts.

Paul Draper, who works with more than 100 young carers aged between eight and 25, who help look after both siblings and parents who have disabilities, ill health, poor mental health or other problems, said the gifts would make a big difference to the youngsters.

He said many such families were suffering from financial problems because of poor health. Had it not been for the appeal, there would have been a danger of the carers going without presents.

Major Andrew Dunkinson, of the Salvation Army, said the organisation was “very appreciative” of the tins and toys.

“We have 200 children on our list waiting for toys,” he said.

“There is an even greater need this year because of the current economic climate and austerity measures.

“In spite of this, people have been very generous and thoughtful towards those who are struggling to manage.”

Sam Beckett, of the York Women’s Refuge, said she wanted to give a “massive thank you” to readers of The Press who sent donations.

She said the refuge had space for ten women and 25 children and was expected to be full over Christmas.

She said: “These families don’t have much they can cut back on and everyone wants to have a Christmas; these donations mean they can.”