Christmas toy and food appeal launched by Bethesda Church

A ROYTON church has launched its annual Christmas toy appeal to encourage people to donate new or good as new quality used toys and items suitable for presents.

Last year 800 children across Oldham received a bag of eight, age related, nicely wrapped presents thanks to the efforts of Bethesda Church, Dogford Road and the generosity of the community. And already toys for Christmas 2019 are already being sorted, picked and wrapped.

Volunteers work to lists provided by the ‘caring agencies’ and from contacts made over the years.

Following on from the first toy appeal a decade ago, Bethesda opened a charity shop in the building, with money raised reserved to help those with various needs.

The creation of a furniture bank followed providing families in financial need across the borough with free furniture, white goods, and other essentials when setting up a new home.

Having seen throughout the year how many there are in critical financial need, the Church has developed what it feels to be the new, simple, cost effective way to help those in need of food.

A freezer and shelves have been installed in a storeroom in the Church.

The freezer contains Tesco frozen ready meals at only 65 pence each and the shelves are socked with nine different types of commonly used food items.

Tesco deliver the ready meals and other food is purchased from Lidl or Aldi. People in need then come to the church to collect it.

By this method 1,500 meals were provided during the schools’ summer break to children who would normally have had a free school meal during term time.

Bethesda hopes to do the same again for the Christmas holidays and the urgent hope is schools and other groups will copy the model.Pastor Geoff Goodwin says: “The Church is extremely burdened by the level of crisis many families are still enduring following the 2009 financial crash and want to help in any and every way they can.

“We are really heartened and encouraged to have built up a lovely group of people following us on Facebook.”

For more details visit Facebook at @bethesdaprojects or call Geoff on
07976 768112.

The Church’s current appeal is for toys, especially for the over 11s, and money to help fund the emergency food project. Just £10 buys 15 ready meals, £1,000 buys 1500 meals.

The friends at Bethesda wish peace and goodwill on all the residents of Oldham this Christmas time.

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