Over Christmas BCM’s ToyLink project delivered gifts to over 1,300 Birmingham families. It is a huge operation that begins with preparation in October and continues through January as families are re-visited. It involves hundreds of volunteers and relies on the generosity of people who donate thousands of toys. We followed the progress of one gift from donor to recipient.
When the Charities Committee of Bromsgrove School Preparatory School organised a toy collection, Georgiana gave some games and books. Georgiana had really enjoyed them and they had helped her learn to read, so she hoped they could be enjoyed again.
Back at the BCM office, Caroline and Francis were processing the details of families referred by Social Services and other agencies to pass on to the wrappers. One of these families included a five year old girl called Amreen.
Helen Stafford, part of a team of volunteer wrappers from One Stop Stores Ltd in Brownhills, selected and wrapped the gifts for Amreen’s family and chose Georgiana’s gifts for Amreen. She said, “I feel privileged to support the fantastic work BCM does and honoured to be a part of giving back at this time of year. Making a difference to the children and families of Birmingham is a humbling and enlightening experience.”
Helen packed the family’s toys in sacks ready for delivery along with a booklet telling the Christmas story. The office team, with the help of complex route planning software given by DPS International, planned a route which included Amreen’s house. Elisabeth programmed the route into the sat nav, loaded up the van and headed out with the gifts for Amreen and her family.
Georgiana’s gifts finally reached five year old Amreen, pictured above with her brothers and sister who also received Christmas gifts delivered through ToyLink. The presents were a great surprise for Sofia, Amreen’s mother, and Amreen said, “I really like them – thank you very much. I am very happy.”
Toys at the right time
Three quarters of the way through our ToyLink Project, Yvonne, one of our volunteers whom we call our Toy Queens, came to me and said that we were getting short on toys. I said that I would send out a call for help via our Facebook page.
As I was half-way through writing the message the phone rang and I answered it. A gentleman, Clive Burt, asked if he could speak to someone in management. He then went on to explain that he was 85 and that he was a successful businessman having started his company in Solihull called ‘Early Years’ fifty years ago.
He said that he had just been to the doctor’s and that they had given him BCM’s address as he wanted to help children. Within two hours he had met Yvonne and one of our other staff at a Cash & Carry and bought £455 worth of toys! He then came back to Watery Lane and visited our toy operation.
Ten minutes following that conversation I received a call from the Manager of TSB in Bearwood, John Maley, who informed me that they had 37 brand new teddy bears for BCM. Quite appropriate that it was bears from Bearwood!
We thank Clive and TSB for their kindness in helping us to support the needy children of our city.