GENEROUS Advertiser readers and Clacks residents have been thanked for their generosity over Christmas after bag-loads of toys were donated as part of a festive appeal.

The Wee County once again proved it has a big heart after the Advertiser teamed up with The Gate Charity and Sauchie Active8, backed by sponsors, to ensure every child in the area woke up to a present waiting under the tree on Christmas Day.

Wishes came true as donations flowed in for the paper's first-ever Toy Appeal, launched in December, with the community spirit shining through during what has been a dark time for many, marred by a cost of living crisis at home and the brutal war in Ukraine.

Speaking after the dust settled on what has been an incredibly busy Christmas period, Lesley McAllenan, foodbank development co-ordinator at The Gate, thanked all involved.

She was happy to have been able to pass the kind donations on to those who experienced a period of crisis, relying on emergency food parcels just to get through the week.

SUPPORT: The Advertisers appeal was backed by sponsors

SUPPORT: The Advertiser's appeal was backed by sponsors

Lesley said: “Clients who were coming in for food parcels were hugely appreciative of the gifts they received for their children because some of them didn't have anything to give.”

While it was Lesley's first winter in the foodbank, it was clear that demand was greater than ever, owing to rises in energy prices and just about everything else needed to meet basic needs.

Usually, Lesley and the team of volunteers would give out around 50 food parcels a week, but in the days leading up to Christmas, they provided just under 90 in four and a half days.

“A huge thank you to everyone who put their hands in their pockets and went out and bought gifts for kids that they don't know,” Lesley continued.

“It's a really nice thing to do, the foodbank clients greatly appreciated it and we really appreciated it because we were happy to see people just have a wee bit of joy, especially with everything that's going on.”

Hats off also to the foodbank volunteers who keep putting the hours and graft in to sort items at the foodbank's temporary base on Sauchie's Main Street.

Lesley and the team have been blown away by the generosity of the people of Clackmannanshire and she added: “A lot of the people who give probably don't have much, but they still want to help someone who is worse off than them.

“It's quite humbling.”