River Radio’s Christmas toy appeal got a boost with visits from Santa Claus and the Mayor of Lisnagelvin last weekend.
Children flocked to Santa’s Cave at the Toytown store to assure everyone’s favorite Christmas hero they were good before him in delivering their presents on Christmas Eve.
Parents, kids and shoppers have also done their part to help River Radio’s toy appeal to ensure Derry’s less fortunate children wake up on Christmas morning with a new toy in their stockings.
River Radio director Gerard Doherty said last year’s inaugural appeal was a success, but this year’s one is shaping up to be five times more toys than 12 months ago.
He said: âThe Christmas season is difficult for so many people, especially with what the past two years have unexpectedly seen for people.
âWith that in mind, we have decided to do what we can locally to support the children and families in our city and region, no child should ever have to wake up to Christmas without a toy.
âThe joy of Christmas is the laughter of children, the smile and the joy that light up a room. It takes away all the worries and problems of the outside world.
âWe have launched this campaign to achieve this as best we can. To ensure that in our region, no child is left behind at Christmas without a toy or gift to open on Christmas morning.
âWe organized this event in Lisnagelvin with Father Christmas and the mayor.
âThe Toy Call is pretty much us collecting toys and handing them out to kids and families in the Northwest who may not have a toy for Christmas.
âThis is the second year that we are doing it. River Radio is a brand new Ofcom licensed radio station.
âWe are a community radio station for young people and we use our platform to help children and families in the area.
âIt started last year during the pandemic and it started with an idea from my daughter, Yazmin. She said she wanted to help the kids and we just rolled out the toy call from there.
âWe have partnered with The Salvation Army and the Toytown store in Lisnagelvin.
âMany local businesses are also involved and helping, as well as local schools such as Oakgrove Elementary School, Oakgrove Integrated University and Steelstown Elementary School.
âEvery toy that was donated goes to the northwest – it stays with the kids and families of the northwest.
âLast year’s call was really good. We have helped over a thousand families and we expect that number to be much higher than that this year. We could hit the range of at least 5,000.