Lidl has rolled out toy banks across its 940 UK stores this week, to collect donations for Christmas.
Launching yesterday, 3 November, and running until 16 December, customers will be able to drop off new and unopened toys and games, to be gifted to children needing support in their local area.
Donations can be anything – from a small stocking filler to something bigger. Sought-after items include toys, games, books, puzzles, and arts and crafts, for a range of ages.
Toys will then be collected by local charities participating in Lidl’s ‘Feed it Back’ scheme, coordinated by Neighbourly, alongside the food they pick up weekly. They will then be donated via local charities and community groups such as food banks and community centres.
The move follows research, in partnership with Neighbourly, that found that for 80% of a sample of 236 charities and community groups currently partnered with Lidl, toys and games were one of their most needed items to help serve their local communities over the festive period – second only to food donations.
In addition, the supermarket has committed £250k for charities during the festive period – including a £125k donation for the toy bank initiative – and has also pledged to donate 1mn meals over the festive period. Festive food items will be included as part of its regular food donations and will go to local charities and community groups.
Existing charity partnerships will be prioritised for these festive collections but, where there’s availability, additional organisations are being invited to apply to be paired with a local Lidl store to collect toys and fresh and chilled food products – including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, and bread – ahead of stores closing on Christmas Eve.
Ryan McDonnell, Chief Executive Officer at Lidl GB, said:
“It has always been our firm belief that each and every one of our stores must have a positive impact on its community. This year, we wanted to find a meaningful way to help these communities – and so we listened to the 1,500 local charities, food banks and community groups we partner with and heard clearly what they needed: food, toys, and access to funds.
“As a business we are proud to be able to address all three needs. We are launching toy banks in all our stores, pledging 1m meals and we will be making £250k available for charities through a Neighbourly donation and our community fund.
“Our hope is that by rolling out the toy donation points we are making it easier, for those customers who can, to donate directly to local good causes by giving them a small way to make a real difference and help those that need it the most.”
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, added:
“Our latest community survey has highlighted the financial strain that many families are facing this winter. With local charities seeing a drop in both food and financial donations, any support that Lidl customers can give is going to be critical. For many families, Christmas gifts will be something they will struggle to afford, so a scheme like this which alleviates some of the worry for parents will make a huge difference.”