Residents are being urged to help spread some Christmas cheer to youngsters across North Yorkshire by donating unwanted or unused toys and games.
The annual Re-Use Santa appeal, run by Yorwaste in partnership with North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council, has been launched at household waste recycling centres across the area.
This year’s campaign, which also involves North Yorkshire Council’s No Wrong Door and Early Help projects, City of York Good Place Network, the Snappy Trust, Colburn Community Hub and Foodshare, the Daisy Chain Project and the British Heart Foundation, will see donations accepted up to December 3.
Last year, a record 3,000 items, or 20 van-loads, were donated for children and teenagers who might not otherwise receive a gift at Christmas.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for environment, Cllr Greg White, said: “It is no secret that more and more families are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“Christmas should be a time of joy, but for some it leads to increased stress and anxiety as they worry about not being able to provide for their children.
“The Re-Use Santa campaign is one way of helping parents out, ensuring that their children wake up on Christmas morning with a smile on their faces.
“The campaign also has the added benefit to the environment of reducing potential waste and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”
Everything from action figures and dolls to games and puzzles for babies up to 16-year-olds will be accepted, so long as they are in good condition and safe to use.
Yorwaste managing director, Sandy Boyle, said: “This has been another year of rising costs and, once again, there are many families facing economic hardship this Christmas.
“The Re-Use Santa campaign can help relieve some of that pressure by regifting pre-loved, clean and well-cared-for toys to children in the hardest-hit households.
“As with previous years, we will also place any excess toys received with local charity partners where they can be sold to generate money for good causes.”
City of York Council’s executive members for environment and climate emergency, Cllr Jenny Kent and Cllr Kate Ravilious, said: “We are delighted to support the Re-Use Santa appeal. We encourage everyone to pass on their best-but-no-longer-used toys and games, giving more joy to more children.
“This year has been very challenging for many families and Reuse Santa is a fantastic way to help spread some Christmas cheer, without costing the earth.”
Toys powered by mains electric cannot be accepted. Site operatives at the recycling centres will be on hand to accept donations, as well as advise on recycling or disposing of items that are unsuitable.
North Yorkshire Council’s head of early help, Barbara Merrygold, whose colleagues will help redistribute the donations, said: “As a society, we are constantly being encouraged to buy the latest gadgets and gizmos and so many things that could be of use to others are left to gather dust.
“Instead of putting them at the back of a cupboard or throwing them out, why not give them a new life and bring a smile to a child’s face this Christmas.”