Sack loads of gifts donated to Ankerside’s Operation Christmas appeal

December 21, 2015

SACK loads of gifts donated by generous Tamworth shoppers will make Christmas special for children and vulnerable families.

Ankerside Shopping Centre’s Operation Christmas appeal has seen a huge response, with hundreds of items donated, ready to be wrapped.

Youngsters at Acorns Children’s Hospice plus vulnerable families supported by Pathways Project – including those fleeing domestic violence – will now receive the festive gifts.

Shoppers were urged to buy an extra gift while they were doing their own Christmas shopping  to donate to the collection and make the festive season special for someone in desperate need.

Thanking all those who have backed the scheme, organisers have been inundated with parcels and say the response from the people of Tamworth has been overwhelming.

Ankerside Shopping Centre administrator Lucy Harvey said: “This is the 12th year  we have run Operation Christmas appeal at Ankerside, and every year our customers seem to be even more supportive and generous.

“This year has certainly been no exception and it is brilliant to see how much time and effort has gone into the donation of these extra special gifts, which will make such a huge difference to those who receive them.

“While most of us look forward to Christmas, it can be such a difficult time of year for some people and I hope the gifts we have gathered here for these two vital local causes can help put a smile back on some faces this Christmas.”

The presents have been left in a collection box at Ankerside for the last month, unwrapped so they could be checked and allocated appropriately, with shoppers donating toys, books, games, toiletries and other goodies.

Representatives from both the Pathways Project and Acorns Hospice were delighted to receive the gifts.

Ankerside Shopping Centre  deputy manager Jeff Wigley and administrator Lucy Harvey hand over hundreds of toys donated through Operation Christmas to Abi Floyd and Carisa Coley of Acorns and Dawn Edge of The Pathway Project.

Ankerside Shopping Centre  deputy manager Jeff Wigley and administrator Lucy Harvey hand over hundreds of toys donated through Operation Christmas to Abi Floyd and Carisa Coley of Acorns and Dawn Edge of The Pathway Project.

Acorn Children’s Hospice offers a network of care for children with life limiting and life-threatening conditions, and support for their families through their hospices in Selly Oak, Walsall and Worcester.

Community Fundraising Manager Abi Floyd said: “We can’t thank the Ankerside team enough for their help as well as every shopper that has so kindly bought an extra gift for one of our children.

“At Acorns, the Christmas period is a special time of year and we aim to create a festive home-from-home for children when they stay, so we are very grateful to  the people of Tamworth have overwhelmed us with their continued support and generosity.”

Her thoughts were echoed by Jackie Hughes, co-ordinator from the Pathways Project, which supports adults and children affected by domestic abuse. It operates a helpline as well as running two refuges and offering counselling, advice, help groups and coaching across the county.

Jackie said: “Once again we are able to accept a huge pile of presents and distribute them to families that may have fled a situation with nothing and are facing a desperate time this festive season.

“I am always amazed at the results of the Operation Christmas appeal and it proves every year that the Christmas spirit is going strong in Tamworth.

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every Ankerside shopper that has taken part.”

Since it began, Ankerside Shopping Centre’s Operation Christmas appeal has raised thousands of pounds worth of gifts for charities such as St Giles Hospice, Marie Curie Cancer Care, The Pathways Project, Meningitis Trust, Acorns Children’s Hospice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Barnardos.