Great Britain
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Darlington Christmas present giveaway for families in need

CHRISTMAS present giveaway in Darlington was launched last Saturday (November 27) after one local man had the idea to help the needy at what is often a difficult time of year.

Barry Jonas, a kitchen manager from Darlington, decided to use his own money to buy children’s Christmas toys and asked for donations to spread some festive joy to those who may not receive gifts otherwise.

Darlington’s own Father Christmas posted into a Darlington community Facebook group, ‘You Know You’re From Darlo When’ on November 19 asking people to tag anyone who may wish to use the service and that if there were too many, he would pick the names from a hat.

The Northern Echo: Spreading Christmas cheer to families across Darlington last weekendSpreading Christmas cheer to families across Darlington last weekend

Read more: Take a look at this new playground based on Darlington town centre landmarks

Barry said: “The response I got from that post was amazing.

“I was really surprised that so many people wanted to help out and donate gifts.

“I also had a lot of messages from local parents asking to be added to the list of houses to visit.

“I know how much pride these people will have had to swallow to ask for help and it’s heart-breaking to be honest.”

Read more: Why St Teresa's Hospice and Darlington Council have teamed up to run children's grief programme

Barry said he’d like to thank Liam Anderson, Billy Stainthorp and Darren Aspey for helping deliver the gifts.

"I couldn't have done it without them. It was definitely a team effort," Barry said.

“We’re in the process of setting up a group to support those in need all year round for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Christenings etc.

“The group will be called S.I.N.G. which stands for Support In Need Group.

“We are looking at doing this again before Christmas but it depend on funds.” Barry said.

Read more: Charity gig to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust at this North East venue

Storm Arwen unfortunately threw a spanner in the works and Barry’s original plan of having a convoy of bikes to deliver the gifts wasn’t doable in the bad weather, so cars were used instead.

When arriving outside the various addresses, Santa’s helpers distracted the children while parents/guardians were taken to a car to pick out some Christmas gifts, either labelled boy or girl.

24 families were helped, and additional selection boxes were also handed out to children passing by.

Read more: Why these Darlington women are turning the town orange as part of international campaign

Barry said: “We did knock on a couple of wrong doors, oops, so we ended up helping two extra families.”

Barry and his two daughters handed out the leftover selection boxes in Darlington town centre on Sunday (November 28) with positive messages written on them, sparking a great reaction on the ‘You Know You’re From Darlo When’ Facebook page.

The Northern Echo: The leftover selection boxes were handed out to shoppers outside The Cornmill Centre in Darlington last Sunday. Barry's daughters wrote positive messages on them to lift people's spiritsThe leftover selection boxes were handed out to shoppers outside The Cornmill Centre in Darlington last Sunday. Barry's daughters wrote positive messages on them to lift people's spirits

Read more: Darlington Council supports international campaign to tackle domestic abuse

One Facebook user said: “What a lovely gesture at this time of year.”

Another said: “After a really rough couple of months and dreading Christmas this small act of kindness meant the world.”

Another said: “Oh how lovely if only everyone could show a little kindness the world would be a much better place.”

--

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on [email protected] or contact 01325 505054