Dartford Toy Appeal met with astonishing success this year, with over 1000 donations made.
The Appeal was launched in 2013 to collect Christmas presents for local children who may otherwise have gone without any presents at all. Originally a small project with just four drop off points, Dartford Living and social media were used to publicise and develop community awareness of the scheme.
Conscious of the funding issues being faced by domestic violence charities and the knowledge that many children fleeing domestic violence are forced to leave behind toys, a decision was made to collect for Choices. Due to the response, last year the appeal was widened to two charities, with The Parents Consortium added. This year, eager to help as many local children as possible we decided to collect for four charities and invited The Haven Food Bank and ellenor to join as recipients.
The appeal ran from 14th November to 16th December. As soon as the appeal was publicised people began making donations. Clubs, businesses and groups began getting in touch asking if they could join in; churches, play schools, shops, members clubs, families, adults and children across our community contributed.
One of the founders, Dartford Living’s Vijay Jain said “Dartford Toy Appeal just gets better and better each year because of the generosity of local people. Our community is fantastic and everyone should be proud that we donated 1,000 toys for local children in need of help in just a few weeks.”
Stephen Oliver, co-founder of the appeal, whose gallery is used as a drop off point and where the toys were sorted on Saturday said “Being one of the drop off points for the appeal has been such a heart-warming experience. From the very young, neighbouring shopkeepers, and older members of the community: all have taken time out to donate and help the less fortunate in our town.”
Founder and Coordinator Kelly Grehan, said “We started this as a small community project three years ago, with the aim of collecting 40 presents. I just cannot believe what it has grown into. I was worried whether we would get enough toys for four charities, so to see response was amazing. What is also wonderful, is getting messages from businesses, shops, clubs and individuals asking if they can get involved. It is just amazing.”
Diane Wisdom from Wisdom Estate Agents said “We were only too pleased to be involved again this year. We are thrilled it was such a success.”
The Parents Consortium said “Thank you so much to all those who helped organise this year’s Toy Appeal it was overwhelming seeing all those donations and it is truly amazing what people give especially at this time of year.”
We’d like to thank everyone who donated and took part. We have a fantastic community in Dartford – don’t ever let people make you doubt it!