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EVER since the club’s debut season in 2016, City of Liverpool FC have set up a Christmas toy appeal to support struggling families and children across the city.
The appeal is organised by the community arm of the club, City of Liverpool FC in the Community, and the 2020 edition has kicked off early in order reach as many people as possible at a time when some of the logistics of the operation may be a bit trickier than usual.
The Big Scouse Xmas Toy Appeal, as it’s called, aims to give children up to the age of 14 something special to open on Christmas morning.
Football has played a big part in raising awareness of child poverty and child food poverty in 2020, not least through the work of Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford who has used his profile to help force change.
The grassroots movements of which Rashford is helping raise awareness are especially important as we enter the winter season when children and their guardians need help more than ever.
Relieving pressure on communities and families at this time of year will help them continue to support elderly friends or relatives through the winter months, while also knowing that the children will have a happy Christmas.
“This fundraiser will make a massive difference to kids’ lives,” says COLFC in the Community director Sean Lindblad.
“Growing up in a single-parent household I know full well the struggles parents encountered each Christmas, often having to make the choice between heat, food and presents.
“This is where we can make the difference and these donations help us have an impact on kids’ lives in a big way.
“Right across this city there are people on the brink, either due to mental-health issues, money or ill health, and while we know we can’t reach every child out there, these presents will ensure the ones we do reach will hopefully have a very happy Christmas.”
The club’s plans to set up the Purple Pantry food union during 2020 were altered by the pandemic, and the service has adapted to deliver food parcels for those in need or unable to get to the shops.
It also provided almost 300 packed lunches for children during the half-term break as the government refused to continue the provision of free school meals into the holidays.
Through this work with the Purple Pantry and other community initiatives, the club and its volunteers are well aware of the struggles low-income families and individuals are facing during this time.
“Thousands of people have lost their jobs due to their workplace closing or have been receiving a lower wage due to being furloughed,” adds Lindblad.
“Now with the Christmas season upon us, the pressure on those struggling will increase massively.
“We still want to make sure that every child in the city wakes up on Christmas morning with a present waiting for them and, through this appeal, we’ll do everything in our power to make this happen.”
In previous years the appeal has accepted donations in the form of toys, books, and other gifts, but this year will encourage donations via JustGiving.
This will help protect the volunteers and recipients as much as possible during the pandemic, with fewer people handling the gifts bought thanks to the donations.
The club and its volunteers work closely with other local charities, community groups and youth centres, as well as a network of social workers, hostels, refugees, schools and food banks.
These close ties will help ensure that those in need will receive as much help as possible and that gifts are appropriate for each child, with a wide range of toys and wrapping for each age group and gender.
You can make a donation to the Scouse Xmas Toy Appeal by visiting justgiving.com/crowdfunding/scouse-xmas-toy-appeal or via the COLFC in the Community Twitter channel @COLFCcommunity, where you can also find the latest updates.
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