Dozens of toys and food hampers will help put a smile on the faces of under-privileged children and struggling families this Christmas after a charity drive by Thames Water employees.
Staff at the company’s various offices in Reading, Swindon and London have donated toys and food parcels to charities across the region.
At Walnut Court in Swindon, 15 boxes full of hundreds of items were donated which will be split between three charities.
Swindon Foodbank, homeless support group Alternative Angels and The Rise Trust will all receive the items, which include food, toiletries and dog food.
Sandy D’Arcy, contract compliance and finance manager who helped organise the collection, said: “These items will massively help struggling families this Christmas, and I’m delighted we were able to collect so much.
“My colleagues at Walnut Court are always happy to dip into their pockets to help with charitable causes and this year has been no exception.
“Although the festive season is a time to relax and celebrate with family, for a lot of families it can be a time of worry due to financial pressures, and hopefully these donations will go a long way to easing that burden.”
Funds are also being raised for four Swindon-based charities, SMASH, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, North Wiltshire RSPCA and the MS therapy centre, and colleagues have also been collecting toys for Swindon’s women’s refuge.
In Reading, staff from Rose Kiln Court, Bridge House and Clearwater Court joined forces to donate food and essential items to charity ReadiFood, which helps around 130 families in the town.
The collection will be handed out to families in the run up to Christmas Day, and includes festive foods as well as essential items such as soups, pies, tinned food, toiletries and sanitary products.
Laura Karic, project support for PR19, organised the collection and said: “There’s been a great response to the appeal and we’re very proud of how much we will donate.
“There’s always a lot in the news about foodbanks and how much they’re used, but these donations can often be a lifeline for struggling families, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated.”
More than 130 toys were also donated to help under-privileged children as part of the Giving Tree appeal.
Organised by charity Connect Reading, children who wouldn’t normally receive gifts write what they would like on a tag which is attached to a Christmas tree, before colleagues can pick which one they want to buy and then donate.
Claire Iredale, charities programme administrator at Thames Water, said: “It might seem quite a small gesture, but this will help children who are living in care or in refuges have at least one toy this Christmas, and put a huge smile on their faces.”
Elsewhere, 12 members of the reports team spent a Time to Give day packing presents into shoeboxes as part of this year’s ‘Operation Christmas Child’, led by the Samaritans.
In London, staff from the company’s HS2 project team donated a hamper of food to Camden foodbank.