A Derry mother has spoken of her delight that thousands of toys and gifts have been donated towards her Christmas Appeal for families in need.
Natasha Davies said the gifts have poured in, with thousands of items already bundled up and passed onto local families and organisations who work with people facing hardship this Christmas. Natasha had asked for local donations just last month,
Thousands more are being sorted through at the Springtown premises of Derry firm, PakFlatt, who are housing donations in their warehouse space and have also pledged to help with the final distribution push in the coming days.
As well as toys and clothes, local people have donated presents for parents, such as toiletry sets, as well as Christmas trees and decorations for those that can’t afford them.
Mother-of-four Natasha has been spending a lot of time putting together packages for members of each family, as well as putting together little Christmas Eve kits for kids.
Recalling what inspired her to take on the challenge, Natasha said: “My first relationship had a lot of domestic violence. It wasn’t a great relationship and there was times that money was a struggle, but me being the person I am was too proud for ask for help. If it wasn’t for my mother and father, they ruined my kids at Christmas, they always had a lot to open.
“I wanted to do it then because there is mothers, it could be fathers- it is not just women who suffer domestic violence or financial hardship; it could be a family affected by suicide, cancer, alcohol drugs - nobody asked to be in this situation.
“A lot can happen in a year. It could be two weeks before Christmas and your house could burn to the ground or somebody in your family could pass away. So this is just a general thing to say - don’t be ashamed to ask for that help. Everybody needs help at some time and there is always somebody there to give you that help.”
Speaking about the response to her appeal, Natasha added: “It has been amazing; fantastic. A lot has gone out already and we have been linking in with Women’s Aid, MacMillan, Surestart, New Pin and if they have any families in need they will let me know and I’ll give them stuff as well.”
Patrick McGonagle, Managing Director of PakFlatt Group in Derry, said the firm were delighted to have been able to help Natasha by offering the use of their premises for free . The firm even erected signage to help donors find it.
Mr McGonagle said: “I was delighted to involved and associated with it.
“It’s a great initiative, it’s going to make an awful lot of difference to people this Christmas and we at the PakFlatt Group are delighted to be involved with it.
“At this time of the year most of our shipments are gone and we were able to turn over some good space to Natasha and it gave our staff a chance to help out and participate in the project and everybody feels really good about it.”
Many other toy appeals across the city, including the Journal’s in, have also received a massive response this year.