Doesn’t every child deserve a Christmas to remember?

KidsOut pile of toys
KidsOut pile of toys

A Leighton Buzzard-based children’s charity has praised the Christmas spirit of shoppers who donated toys to its festive appeal.

In the last week before Christmas, the Giving Tree 2015 appeal was a huge success at the Leighton Buzzard branch of Morrisons.

On December 14-16, KidsOut volunteers and employees met outside of the Leighton Buzzard store to encourage shoppers to purchase a toy for a child living in refuge in addition to their holiday shopping.

The KidsOut team was overwhelmed by the generosity of passers-by, taking hundreds of pounds worth of toys back to the charity’s head office in Church Square.

Gordon Moulds, CEO of KidsOut, said: “A response like this one really strengthens one’s faith in humanity. The kindness of strangers can make a huge difference in the lives of these children, who because of their situation are so vulnerable.”

Having kicked off in October, the KidsOut Giving Tree appeal encourages businesses and individuals to donate toys to children in refuge, many of whom may otherwise not receive any.

While parents all over the country can purchase dozens of gifts for their kids, those living in refuge may not be able to afford to buy or cope with the process of shopping.

Having already left their home, toys and all that is familiar, KidsOut believes that these children deserve a happy Christmas.

Stewart Moulds, Head of Fundraising at KidsOut, said: “These children have got nothing. Some of them leave home with literally the clothes on their back, and they’re in the refuge with nothing at a time of year when other kids gets lots.

“We want them at least to have some excitement at Christmas and fond memories to look back on.”

Designed to be a fun alternative to the more traditional Secret Santa, some 143 businesses, schools and individuals have signed up to participate in Giving Tree 2015, nearly tripling last year’s figures.

KidsOut will collect toys until December 18, after which it will focus on delivering the presents to locations across the country.

Town councillor Alan Brandham, KidsOut’s chairman of community added: “It’s important because some of these children do not receive many or even any presents. Asking people to give presents is lovely because it makes the people giving feel so much better and the children receiving overjoyed.”

Katharine Smith, community champion for Morrisons in Leighton Buzzard and a member of the KidsOut Community Committee, said: “Morrisons is committed to supporting the local community, and our calendar is always packed with local initiatives.

“I think that most people like to help others at this time of year, and KidsOut is a lovely charity.”