Today the Telegraph launches its annual toy appeal which every year helps disadvantaged children across our area.
Over the years thousands of people have donated thousands of gifts which have brightened the lives of children across our part of the county on Christmas morning.
Many of these children would receive nothing on Christmas Day if it was not for the generosity of our readers.
The gifts are collected by Northamptonshire County Council’s social services team, who give them to children across the Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden areas.
As always, people can drop off their gifts at the Telegraph office in Rothwell Road during office hours from Monday to Friday.
People can also leave gifts at the Corby Cube, as Corby Council has agreed to act as a collection point (drop off gifts at Corby Cube reception between 9am and 5pm), and gifts can also be dropped off at Wellingborough Museum (open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday).
The deadline to drop off gifts is Friday, December 11, which allows the social services team enough time to deliver all the gifts to families.
Northants Telegraph editor David Summers said: “It is unfortunate that so many children still go without at this time of year, but the annual toy appeal helps to make a small difference.
“Telegraph readers have traditionally been very generous in donating to the appeal, and I am sure this year will be no different.
“We are, of course, very grateful to Robert Wharton and his team at Wellingborough Museum for allowing the museum to be used as a drop-off point again.
“We are also delighted that Corby Council is once again supporting the appeal and allowing Corby Cube reception to be a drop-off point in that part of the county.”
Jeanette Walsh, from Northamptonshire County Council’s social services team, said: “We’re always staggered by the generosity people show at this time of year during the gift appeal.
“It really does make a difference to less fortunate children, some of whom may not receive anything else on Christmas Day.”
A charity based in Corby is holding its first gift appeal for youngsters in the borough and in East Northamptonshire.
Family Action is a national charity which offers parenting support and advice to families.
The charity has a base in Corby and has teamed up with Places Gym, in Anne Street, to organise the appeal.
Siobhan Holmes, from Family Action, said: “The toy appeal supports families in their local community by having companies and individuals donate gifts for children and young people at Christmas.
“Many of the families we work with are facing multiple and complex issues, such as mental ill health, domestic abuse, being a young carer or living in poverty and would benefit from gifts this Christmas.”
Siobhan said this is the first time the charity, which only launched its Corby branch late last year, has organised a toy appeal in the town.
She added: “The toys can be for children of any age up to 18.”
People are asked to donate gifts of a value of about £10 and wrap them, including a label with the gender and age information.
Gifts should be taken to Places Gym in Anne Street, from 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm at weekends, before Friday, December 11.
Kettering’s Salvation Army branch has launched its annual Christmas Parcels Appeal to help out families struggling during the festive period.
During November, collection points are operating in three Kettering shops – Wilko in Newland Street, Superdrug in High Street and Asda in Cunliffe Drive – where shoppers can place their gifts of new toys, groceries, winter clothing, toiletries and any other appropriate contributions.
Other supermarkets are donating food to the appeal.
Several schools and churches will also be supporting this year’s project, and the Salvation Army Hall in Kettering is open to receive gifts from the public at the Regent Street entrance (off Rockingham Road).
More than 200 children in Kettering benefited from the parcels of toys, food and gifts distributed last Christmas.
Major Paul Doust, from the Kettering branch, said: “With the country still experiencing a difficult financial climate, it is likely that many people will still be forced to cut back and maybe go without this year.
“So we are asking again for donations of new gifts for all age groups – young and old. Please do not wrap the items. Food obviously needs to be in tins or packets with an adequate shelf life.”
The Salvation Army is hosting a toy service in its Rockingham Road base on on Sunday, November 29, at 3pm when Santa will be visiting.
People in Rushden are being urged to show their caring side by donating toys to a town-wide gift appeal.
From Monday, November 30, to Friday, December 11, anyone is welcome to drop off new (or good as new) gifts suitable for a child of any age from babies to teenagers at Simpson and Weekley Estate Agents in High Street, Rushden.
The gifts will then be moved to the Full Gospel Church in Bedford Road ready for December 12 when the church hosts a Christmas Giveaway Day (with refreshments).
Any families who use the food bank can also choose toys for their children free of charge.
Other families struggling financially will also be invited to take part and organisers will be using their existing contacts to identify the families most in need.
Jeanette Maddams, one of the organisers, said: “We did this last year and it was a great success. We are hoping to reach even more families this year.”
Contact Jeanette by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Companies and organisations in Rushden supporting the gift appeal include: Simpson and Weekley Estate Agents, the Wesleyan Church, the Full Gospel Church, food bank, Hope Methodist Church, Rushden Higham Rotary Club and East Northants Child Contact Services.