Central England Co-operative is on a mission to ensure that children do not miss out on a gift this Christmas.
Throughout November the retailer is asking customers to donate a present or stocking filler at special donation points in all its 244 stores.
The society will host collection events at chosen stores in each of the 16 counties where it trades, with a Santa Lorry on hand to collect the donations.
The co-op is working with local charities, community groups and food banks to distribute the presents to families who cannot afford them. Organisations supported include Rainbows Hospice, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Debbie Robinson, Central England chief executive, said: “We are building on the success of our annual food bank campaigns by making sure as many children as possible wake up on Christmas morning with a present waiting for them.
“This is why I am delighted to announce our Christmas Toybox Appeal, which we hope will see our customers and members donate thousands of toys – and help bring a little bit of magic of the festive season for youngsters who really don’t have a lot.
“We are working with some truly inspiring local good causes and charities who will ensure all of these donations will end up with children who need them most.
“This Christmas please visit our food stores, funeral homes, travel shops or florists, donate a new present and help us give a child a gift they will love.”
The Christmas Toybox Appeal donation points will be in stores between 1-28 November. Items have to be new, unwrapped and can include puzzles, games, soft toys, outdoor toys, books, dolls/figures, CDs/DVDs and art materials.
Kate Golding, head of Organisational Giving at Rainbows, said: “All youngsters love toys and at Rainbows, we can always put them to good use for our children, young people and their siblings.
“We especially love toys that focus on arts and crafts as even those with the most complex of needs can benefit from them.
“Thank you in advance to everyone who donates to the appeal, we really appreciate it.”
Paula Howard, from Bassetlaw Food Bank, a local non-profit, added: “We are delighted to be working with Central England Co-op and supporting the Christmas Toybox Appeal.
“We hope that people will dig deep, donate a present or stocking filler during November and bring Christmas joy to children.
“This appeal is a great way to support your local community and to help spread some joy this festive season. So, if you can, get involved, help now and make sure every child has a special gift to open on 25 December.”