The School’s annual Christmas Toy and Gift Appeal has managed to support more children and families than ever before.
Donations of toys, books, games and a range of other gifts by Tonbridge parents, boys and staff will enable disadvantaged children in the local community to have a happier Christmas.
This year saw 523 children, from 189 families, referred to the scheme. Referrals are made by Kent County Council’s Social Services and Early Help teams, as well as by charities, churches and primary schools.
Each year boys, parents and staff are invited to bring in new or nearly new items suitable as presents for boys and girls aged up to 18 years, and by the end of last month thousands of donations had been made. Parents who couldn’t bring in gifts jointly donated more than £2,000, which allowed gifts to be bought on their behalf.
On Tuesday 30 November, Big School became a hive of activity as a team of parent and staff volunteers began the mammoth task of sorting donations and choosing gifts for each family. Boys from the Lower School and Sixth Form Geography sets also came to help the effort.
By the end of the day, hundreds of gift bags were filled with suitable presents and distributed to schools and agencies to pass onto families.
Jutta Poxleitner, the School’s Community Action Assistant, said: “A huge thank you to all the parents who came to help sort the gifts. It is always a fantastic day, and we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals without their enthusiasm and support.”
Rebecca Jordan, an Early Help Worker from Tonbridge and Malling Early Help and Preventative Services, added: “Thank you to the School community for these kind and generous donations of toys to our most vulnerable families. I can tell you they were gratefully, and even tearfully, received by our parents. We know and can see the difference this makes to the children we support. Thank you for all you do to make a difference.”
Since the Toy Appeal began in 2012, there has been a more than a three-fold increase in the numbers referred, with agencies expressing concern that many children might receive little or nothing at Christmas unless families can be supported. The Covid pandemic has simply added even greater financial pressure for many.