The Northern Advocate and Whangārei Lions Club are collecting toys for children across the region again after launching their annual Christmas appeal for families in need.

Having a stack of presents under the Christmas tree is not a given in every household, and so the Whangārei Lions Club in collaboration with NZME/Northern Advocate want to ensure children in Northland don't miss out.

General manager Greg Alexander said the team at NZME Northland, was excited to support the Annual Whangārei Lions Christmas Toy Appeal again this year.

"Christmas is a tough time for many, so again we're opening our office in Robert St to receive gifts and work alongside the Whangārei Lions Club to make sure as many children in Northland have a happy and festive season as possible," Alexander said.


"It never ceases to amaze me the generosity of our readers and we look forward to greeting them with a smile and a thank you for helping make someone else's Christmas a lot brighter."

Drop-off points for good quality toys and games are located at the Northern Advocate office on 88 Robert St and the Whangārei Central Library.

Co-organiser Russel Ross from Whangārei Lions Club the said various donations were welcome, including dolls, teddies, books, puzzles, trikes, clothes and non-perishable food.

"We're asking the good and kind people who donate only to include second-hand toys that are still working and clean. No child likes to play with a car that has only three wheels."

Ross has been working hard in his retirement making wooden toys including doll cribs, lawnmowers, wheelbarrows and small train sets, some of which will go into the donation boxes.

He has been involved with the appeal for more than 30 years since the Lions first started the appeal in Whangārei.

"The idea behind it was that we wanted to have no child go without a present on Christmas," Ross said.

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This year, donations will go towards local organisations Jigsaw North Family Services, Te Puna O Te Aroha Refuge, Te Aroha Medical Centre, Otangarei Health, Miriam Centre, KiaOra Ngatiwai Kapo, the Genesis Centre, Barnardos, Plunket, Youth Horizons, Salvation Army and Rawene Hospital.

Just before Christmas, the charities will come and collect the toy donations to distribute them among families in the region.

Ross said the organisations were given a free choice to pick out what toys would suit the children they work with best.

The appeal runs until Tuesday, December 17. To drop off good-quality toys and games, visit the Northern Advocate on 88 Robert St or the Whangārei Central Library.