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The Big Toy Appeal launches to bring joy to children whose families are struggling to afford Christmas

The Salvation Army has once again teamed up with The Entertainer, the UK’s largest high street toy retailer, to deliver presents to children who need them the most in a year when many family budgets have been hit hard.

The Big Toy Appeal asks customers to consider picking up a toy online or in-store in areas where non-essential shops remain open to donate to a family in need at Christmas. For every toy donated, The Entertainer will also donate a toy, doubling the number of donations and increasing the number of families supported.

For parts of the UK in lockdown, shoppers can easily take part in The Big Toy Appeal and donate a toy to The Salvation Army by adding a £5 toy to their basket at the checkout on the www.TheToyShop.com and www.elc.co.uk websites. These toys will then be sent directly to Salvation Army centres for delivery to children.

This is the appeal’s third year with nearly 60,000 toys and books being donated through the scheme so far, thanks to shoppers and The Entertainer. It has meant children up and down the country were able to receive the gift of play, when they otherwise might have gone without on Christmas Day.

Many people have turned to The Salvation Army’s frontline services for help since the start of the pandemic due to job losses, furloughing and livelihoods disappearing. Corps have mobilised to offer vital support including food banks and hot meals for people self-isolating, those shielding or simply unable to afford to cook. As a result, additional financial pressure to provide presents at Christmas will likely increase family hardship further.

Tony Daniels, Director of Community Services for The Salvation Army said: “The pandemic has brought some extremely difficult situations for families throughout this year. Christmas always brings extra demands on family budgets, but this year we’re anticipating it will be even more difficult for many. The Big Toy Appeal allows us, with The Entertainer, to bring Christmas joy to families who need it the most right now.”

Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman at The Entertainer said: “We are so grateful for the generosity of our customers. Each year, our Big Toy Appeal supports an ever-increasing number of families. The financial difficulties we are facing this year will mean overwhelming difficulties for families trying to give their children a joyful and magical Christmas.

“Every child deserves to know they are special and the Big Toy Appeal is an opportunity for us to work together to help families celebrate the wonder of Christmas.For every toy bought and donated to the Big Toy Appeal, whether online or in one of our open stores outside of lockdown regions, The Entertainer will also donate a toy, doubling the number of toys given and increasing the number of families that together we can support this Christmas.”

This year, the Big Toy Appeal will run online at www.TheToyShop.com and www.elc.co.uk and in stores which remain open outside of the lockdown regions between 7 November to 28 November.

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