Action, the volunteering section of Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU), launched their ‘Operation Jingle Bells’ campaign earlier this month and have surpassed their initial target of collecting 500 new gifts.
Each year, the Leicestershire-based Toys on the Table provides thousands of Christmas presents to children of all religions living in the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland, but the charity is only able to do so with the support of the general public.
Staff, students and members of the community have rallied together to donate over 700 toys and presents; they have also raised almost £300 for Toys on the Table, which will use the money to purchase even more gifts.
As part of the festive campaign, a full-sized sleigh was installed in the Students’ Union, which acted as the central donation point, and Action also hosted ‘Give A Gift Day’ – a mini winter wonderland event that featured snow, real reindeer and Santa Claus himself.
The winter wonderland event featured reindeer, snow and more. Image courtesy of Loughborough Students' Union.
Action Executive Officer Joel Brocklehurst said of the achievement: “I am absolutely overwhelmed by the number of toys we have managed to collect for Operation Jingle Bells!
“It just goes to show what the amazing Loughborough students, staff and the local community can achieve when we work together.
“I am so happy to be able to donate the toys to Toys on the Table, it is such a fantastic charity and I hope that this is the first year of many that we work together to continue to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves.
“I would like to personally thank each and every person who donated a toy and the amazing team that made the campaign possible.
“It’s great to start the Christmas holidays in the knowledge that more children will be experiencing what every child should on Christmas Day.”
Students at Give a Gift Day. Image courtesy of Loughborough Students' Union.
Loughborough’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Allison, commented: “The generosity of students and staff is something that defines Loughborough University.
“Christmas is a special time, in particular for children and young people and Toys on the Table is one example of our support for the Leicestershire community. Congratulations to Loughborough Students’ Union on this outstanding success.”
Commenting on the University’s campaign, Mac Clarke, Chairman of Toys on the Table, said: “I think I can sum up the students’ efforts in one word: ‘wow’. It’s been fantastic; really the effort they’ve put in and the results are superb.
“This is the largest number of toys donated to Toys on the Table in one go so they have set a record.
“We rely on having a rolling stock of presents and this means we are in a good position for this Christmas and future Christmases and can give even more presents to children who would otherwise receive nothing. A big thank you to Action.”