De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) have helped donate hundreds of presents to needy children this Christmas.
Students and staff from both DSU and De Montfort University (DMU) donated toys and their time to wrap gifts for Toys on the Table, a charitable organisation which gives toys to almost 4,000 children in Leicester and the Leicestershire area who otherwise wouldn’t receive anything on Christmas day.
After weeks of toy donations and fundraising, over volunteers came together on Wednesday afternoon at The Big Wrap – organised by Volunteering at DSU – to wrap more than 200 hundred presents.
Alice Davis is a second-year Law (LLB) student and as DSU’s Community Events Frontrunner helped coordinate the campaign at DMU. She said: “Sometimes circumstances mean that Christmas is difficult for families.
“These will be their presents this year and it is so great that it will go to a special place.”
Toys on the Table take referrals from homeless shelters and the wider community as well as from those who have gone through marriage breakdowns. They aim to give at least two presents each to the children.
Alice continued: “What we do every year [at DSU] is collect the toys and wrap them here. It was really nice chatting with the university staff and a couple of people from the Dance Society as well. It is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit.”
The donation drive was the eighth year that DSU have supported the charity, who aim to collect at least 8,000 toys each year. And the team made a huge contribution to the total.
“We had 234 individual toys donated and with that we made 204 presents,” Alice said.
“I spoke to Terry [Watts, President of Toys on the Table] at the end and he said he’d never had to think about getting it in the car like he did today!
“204 is one of the biggest totals we have ever had, and out of 8,000 toys a year we have made a pretty good contribution to that. Thank you to all the volunteers who came today.”
Alice poses with Toys on the Table President Terry Watts (right) in front of a bootful of presents.
Olga Machado, a third-year Accounting and Finance student, said: “This is the second year I have helped to wrap presents for Toys on the Table.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that I am helping bring a smile to someone’s face this Christmas and personally I want to give my time to make someone happy, especially if it is a child.”
University staff were also generous with their time as well as toy donations, with the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences donating a huge total of gifts once again.
Dr Clodagh Harrington, senior lecturer in Politics at DMU, was also taking part in the event. She said: “I did this in 2015 and after Christmas that year I realised it was the most worthy thing I had done, so I volunteered again this year.
“It makes you realise the gap between the haves and the have-nots so I am glad to be able to do something, even if it is a small gesture.”
To find out more about Volunteering at DSU, click here.
Volunteers came together on Wednesday afternoon for The Big Wrap in The Hub of The Art Factory - just days before we move back into #YourNewDSU.