Lidl is launching a toy donation drive across the UK this Christmas to help struggling families.
The Christmas ‘toy banks’ will open across more than 940 of its stores nationwide from Thursday 3 November.
Customers will be able to drop off new and unopened toys and games at the toy banks, with these to be gifted to children that need support in the local area.
Donations can include anything from small stocking fillers to larger items, the supermarket said. Sought-after items include toys, games, books, puzzles, and arts and crafts, for a range of ages.
Donated toys will then be collected by local charities participating in Lidl’s ‘Feed it Back’ scheme, coordinated by Neighbourly, alongside the food they pick up weekly.
The toys will then be donated via local charities and community groups, including food banks and community centres.
The launch comes following research, in partnership with Neighbourly, that found that toys and games were one of the most needed items to help serve local communities over the festive period - second only to food donations.
1 million meals to be donated over Christmas
As well as the toy donation drive, the supermarket has committed £250k for charities during the festive period – including a £125k donation for the toy bank initiative – and has pledged to donate more meals than ever over Christmas.
As part of its long-standing work within local communities, Lidl will also donate a selection of festive food items as part of its regular food donations which will go to local charities and community groups. Together with the food surplus programme this will equate to more than one million meals.
Existing charity partnerships will be prioritised for these festive collections but, where there’s availability, additional organisations are being invited to apply to be paired with a local Lidl store to collect toys and fresh and chilled food products – including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, and bread – ahead of stores closing on Christmas Eve.
Ryan McDonnell, Chief Executive Officer at Lidl GB, said: “It has always been our firm belief that each and every one of our stores must have a positive impact on its community. This year, we wanted to find a meaningful way to help these communities - and so we listened to the 1,500 local charities, food banks and community groups we partner with and heard clearly what they needed: food, toys, and access to funds.
“As a business we are proud to be able to address all three needs. We are launching toy banks in all our stores, pledging 1m meals and we will be making £250k available for charities through a Neighbourly donation and our community fund.
“Our hope is that by rolling out the toy donation points we are making it easier, for those customers who can, to donate directly to local good causes by giving them a small way to make a real difference and help those that need it the most.”
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, added: "Our latest community survey has highlighted the financial strain that many families are facing this winter. With local charities seeing a drop in both food and financial donations, any support that Lidl customers can give is going to be critical.
“For many families, Christmas gifts will be something they will struggle to afford, so a scheme like this which alleviates some of the worry for parents will make a huge difference.”
Lidl toy banks will be accepting donations from 3 November until 16 December, when all the toys will be collected for distribution. Charities, community groups and food banks can now register interest online to receive surplus food and toy donations this Christmas.