A CHRISTMAS toy appeal gets underway tomorrow (November 19) in York.

Last year, The Salvation Army was determined that Christmas would not be cancelled for those in need, despite lockdown and severe restrictions. Through the generosity of the people of York and the surrounding area, they were able to provide new toys and gifts to 741 children under 18 and additional food to 240 families.

Salvation Army Officer, Major Andrew Dunkinson said: “With the help of local businesses and the public, we ensured all who were referred to us by local statutory agencies were offered the support they needed. Even though Covid restrictions meant we had limited drop off points last year, the amazing public response meant we could still make Christmas special for hundreds of disadvantaged local families.

“This year, the rising cost of heating, lighting and fuel, the end of the furlough scheme and the £20 reduction in some benefits have thrown more people into financial hardship. We anticipate an increase in referrals for our help and hope we can meet the need. We trust the public will support this year’s toy appeal in the wonderful way they have done in previous years, so that those who have suffered economically from the pandemic, will not go without this Christmas."

Paul Marshall, Tesco community champion said: “The whole Tesco family are thrilled again to be making a difference in the local community by supporting the appeal. It is wonderful to think that, whether customer or staff colleague, we can bring some joy and pleasure to a child and family on Christmas Day.”

Wayne Chadwick, Managing Director of YO1 Radio said: “This will be the first Christmas for the all-new YO1 Radio, and we know that although it is a very special time of the year, it can also be a difficult time for some families. That’s why we are delighted to be supporting the Salvation Army Toy Appeal, which we know will make a massive difference to many people. We are proud to be raising awareness on the air and hope that everyone will get behind the appeal.”

In spite of everything that has happened this year, York Salvation Army hope those children referred to them will have gifts to open on Christmas Day and that families do not go without additional food this Christmas.

As well as the Toy Appeal, York Salvation Army will be ‘delivering Christmas’ to those who would normally come to their Christmas Day hospitality but who need to be kept safe whilst Covid is still with us. With the kind help of Wiltshire Farm Foods, festive meals for Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be delivered before the holiday. Volunteers will then drop off a goodie bag of treats and a Christmas gift to those who will be on their own. Major Sheila Dunkinson said: “We are so grateful to our volunteer drivers who are giving their time to make the day special for others.”

New, unwrapped gifts can be dropped off, from tomorrow until December 12, at:

Tesco Extra Stores at Tadcaster Road and Clifton Moor

Natwest Bank in Market Street.

Herbert Todd & Son outlets in Acomb and at Monks Cross

Barclays Bank in Haxby and Easingwold

Starbucks in Monks Cross.

Halifax Bank branches in Parliament Street and Acomb