This year, here in the Usborne Oxford office, we wanted to put a twist on the traditional Secret Santa – so we agreed to channel our gift buying powers into donating presents for the Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal. It's a great appeal that works with local social workers and families to try and ensure that no child is without a present this Christmas.
Instead of picking a name out of the hat, we picked out an age-group to buy for, ranging from 0-16 years. Throughout December, the pile of toys and books under our office tree rapidly grew with the generous donations of our editors, designers and Usborne Books at Home team.
Here's a picture of some of the gifts around the tree – a collection of action toys, teddies, clothing, DVDs, games and (of course) Usborne books.
Last year, the Salvation Army delivered over 400 presents to children and young people around Oxford – and this year looks set to beat that, as you can see from the room full of donations (ours are the four Ikea bags on the left!).
We had a little chat with one of the volunteers at the Donation Station and he explained how they match the presents to the families that need them. Working closely with the social workers, local groups and the Salvation Army's own network, the appropriate gifts are distributed to the families in time for them to be wrapped up and popped under their trees for Christmas Day. Over the years, millions of children and young people have benefited from these gifts.
We really enjoyed having an excuse to shop for some fun toys and I'm sure we will be doing this again next year! A big thank you to Maddie Warnes, the designer in our Oxford office who organised it all :)
There is more information on the work that the Salvation Army do on their website.