KIND-HEARTED residents are being urged to help make sure no child in Renfrewshire wakes up without a present on Christmas Day.

The Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank Appeal has been launched, with organisers keen to secure donations that will bring festive joy to cash-strapped families who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now in its third year, the worthy cause was set up by Renfrew woman Lauren Roy-Sutherland after she realised families who were struggling to make ends meet couldn’t afford to splash out on gifts.

Generous readers of The Gazette helped to provide presents for hundreds of children last year, as donations such as toys for babies and gift cards for teenagers poured in.

And Lauren is determined to make sure lockdown restrictions don’t prevent local youngsters from getting a Christmas gift this year.

“I don’t think you can call yourself a community group and then not help out the community during a pandemic,” she said.

“Buying toys is probably going to be one of the last things many families think about this winter, with a lot of people struggling as a result of having their wages or hours cut at work, but kids learn and open up through play.

“We’re also hoping to continue giving out gift cards to teenagers so they can still experience normal activities such as going to the shops or the cinema with their friends.”

The Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank has implemented measures to ensure it can provide gifts to youngsters as safely as possible.

Lauren said: “We’re really pushing for PayPal donations this year, as it will mean fewer people touching things, and we’ve already been receiving payments through the service, which is fantastic.

“Some of our toy drop-off points have already opened to give us more time to manage everything under the current restrictions.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time planning behind the scenes, as well as purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers, with toys being sanitised when they come to us.”

If you would like to donate to the appeal or find out more, search for Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank on Facebook.