THE Salvation Army in Newtown has launched its annual Christmas Toy and Tins Appeal which runs until Friday, December 20.

Every year they rely on the generosity of the public to donate gifts and toys for children and young people who otherwise would have little or nothing on Christmas morning.

Church leader Sam Jones, said: “Last Christmas was one of the busiest ever during which we helped lots of local families, lots of whom were working parents who simply couldn’t spare a bit extra to make Christmas special for their families. One young family had recently been bereaved unexpectedly and hadn’t got anything for Christmas and thanks to the generosity of people in the area we were able to give seasonal gifts to make Christmas a bit more bearable.

“Our team of volunteers will be out delivering your generous Christmas gifts to those who might otherwise go without.

“The Christmas story inspires us as a church to reach out to those in need, so we’re running the appeal to ensure every child gets a present and meal on Christmas Day.”

Members of the public are asked to drop off a new unwrapped gift for a child aged up to 16. Additionally donations of tinned and Christmas food items are invited. All donations of both toys and food items can be delivered to the charity shop and prayer space, 7-8 Market Street. Salvation Army representatives will distribute them to children and families in need in the area through their own networks, local groups and social services.

Colleen O’Brien, charity shop and programme manager, said: “Last year we delivered 196 toy parcels and 119 Christmas food hampers to families in need. It is heart-warming to see children’s faces light up when they open their Christmas presents. If you have children, grandchildren or children you support, think of what they might like in their Christmas stocking and consider buying an extra present and donating it. We’re asking for brand new toys or gifts so the families we support feel extra special. It’s so beautiful to see even children getting involved sharing the Christmas spirit, one boy who was volunteering had written a speech and told all of the other people volunteering that day how he and his family went to a widowed man’s home every year to share their Christmas dinner with him”.

Daniel Jones, community development worker said: “In recent years we have struggled to get all of the presents ready to go out in time, as you can imagine 196 toy parcels are very difficult to source however the local public have always pulled through and enabled us to bring smiles to children’s faces across Newtown and the community. I am very pleased to say this year that we have a new drop off point in Argos Newtown as we have been partnered with them for their Brighten a Million Christmases Scheme.”

Sam Jones said: “This year on December 15, we will be having our first Christmas Café Church at Costa, ‘Carols with a Difference’. We’ve been meeting at Costa since July where we have been made very welcome. The first drink is served at 6pm and we start at 6.30pm with an introduction to that evening’s theme and a light-hearted quiz.”

“Also we have our annual Carol Service on December 22 at 10.30am at Trehafren Community Centre. This is a family friendly service and everyone is welcome to stay for a mince pie and cuppa afterwards. It will be a great festive occasion and we’d love to see you there”.

Thanks to the amazing support of the people of Newtown and the surrounding area, The Salvation Army here in Newtown is able to distribute toys and food.