Santa came early to Deptford this year, with hundreds of families set to receive brand new toys for Christmas.
The Salvation Army, Deptford, run by captain Kevin Stanbury and his wife Wendy, is working with Transport for London this December to find a home for the 2,000 unopened toys that are left on London’s transport network every year.
The Christmas scheme, which started in 2008, gives support to disadvantaged families in south-east London during the festive period. The Salvation Army, which is also a registered charity, works closely with local children’s centres and the council to identify families that would benefit from additional help at Christmas and offers them the opportunity to choose from hundreds of unopened toys to give their children on Christmas day.
Some of these toys, which range from board games to teddy bears, have been waiting in TfL’s lost property office for over three months.
Julie Haley, TfL’s lost property office manager, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to donate these lovely toys to The Salvation Army to give to children who are not expecting any presents this year. We understand that during this current economic down-turn things can be tough for some families and we hope these new toys will provide some Christmas cheer”.
The Salvation Army, which is a worldwide Christian church, works with the TfL lost property office on a monthly basis to collect and distribute the many items that are left on buses, trains, trams and taxis, to people in need. Captain Kevin of the Deptford branch, which is the only group involved in the Christmas scheme, said: “Christmas can be a stressful time for many families because of the financial burden. The donation of the toys from TfL brings joy not only to the many children who receive them but also to the parents who are able to give them. We cannot stress enough the difference this makes to so many people’s lives.”
Salvation Army centres in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Croydon are also running a variety of Christmas events.