The Idea

Great success! We had a wonderful response to our appeal for toys for struggling families this Christmas. The local community out did itself and donated more than we have ever received, over 1300 toys, games books and puzzles which was astonishing. Everything donated was of a very high quality and in excellent condition.There was a particularly lovely moment when a very young lady arrived with her mother pushing an immaculate Mommas and Poppas pram complete with very well dressed doll and with all the accoutrements. The young lady said that she hoped that another young child would have as much fun and enjoyment with this as she had had.

We even had a local company, Wessex Internet, set up an in-house collection point. The response was so good they had to use one of their vans to deliver all the toys that their staff had donated. The toys were delivered to the Blandford Food Bank and to the Blandford Opportunity Group. The feedback from Gail del Pinto – another Rotarian – who manages the Food Bank has been very positive with many families leaving with broad smiles on their faces. Altogether a very successful event and our thanks to all involved

Background.  In 2018 the Club decided to try out a new scheme. The idea was that in late Autumn, we would have a drop-off point in the middle of Blandford where residents could donate toys that were no longer being used. These toys would initially be offered to the Blandford Food Bank and subsequently delivered to other charitable organisations in the town. The toys would then be given to needy families for Christmas.

We approached the Parish offices on the main church in the middle of Blandford to see if we could use the church as a collection point. We had decided that the best time to start collecting was just before the end of October and the first few days of November. Permission was readily given, and we were offered both the lobby area of the church and the old Parish offices. This was wonderful as we had a lockable space where we could store the donation overnight. Our thanks to all those at the Parish centre.

“Blandford Rotary’s Toys for Christmas a big success with the public and needy children”

Opening Success

The first day we opened was 31st October 2018. We were expecting to be offered a few toys the first day and expected the number to increase over the following three days. Our target was to have more than 100 toys at the end of the four days. 

What happened was that from the opening, there was a steady stream of people donating toys, games, books and puzzles. By the end of the fourth day, we had received over 1000! What was astonishing was the quality of the toys, games, books and puzzles. Many looked brand new and expensive.

Ongoing Commitment to Families at Christmas

The Manager of the Blandford Food Bank, Gail del Pinto, who is also a Rotarian, was able to give all her needy families a selection of toys, books, puzzles and games so that their kids had a proper Christmas.

We repeated the programme in 2019 and had even more donations. Once again, Gail was able to find homes for all of them.

Due to Covid, we could not hold the event in 2020, and the needy families strongly felt this loss in Blandford.

We will do our utmost to have a Toys for Christmas event at the end of October and into early November this year.