Shop Local: Gift store's Christmas toy drive overwhelming success
- Credit: Archant
When the owner of Weston's G3 gift store decided to give something back to the community to thank people for their continued support throughout the pandemic, he had no idea how well the appeal would go.
John Tarnock, owner of G3 in Meadow Street, set up a toy drive and asked people to donate money to buy gifts for families supported by Weston Foodbank.
He said: "We set the GoFundMe page up at the end of September and, at best, hoped to get £500 worth of donations to buy toys with and donate to Weston Foodbank.
"Times were hard due to the pandemic and it was our first attempt at doing something like this but people got hooked on a feelgood factor.
"Today, we have raised more than £1,200 and the Foodbank has just received boxes upon boxes of Christmas presents from our toy drive - it has been unbelievable.
"We had people coming into store donating £50 after hearing about the idea and even children donating their pocket money."
Shoppers donate instore and via the shop's GoFundMe page allowing G3 to donate many more boxes than expected to the Foodbank.
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Those boxes were packed with cuddly toys, arts and crafts gifts and some of Christmas' most wanted toys such as Mega Construx sets.
Weston Foodbank's manager, Frederique Wigmore said she was humbled by the generosity shown by the local store.
She said: "We are truly blown away by the number of toys that John and the customers of G3 Toys have donated to the Foodbank.
"Every box is full of Christmas joy and we cannot wait to share them with the families we will help over the next couple of weeks.
"It is truly humbling that a local store put so much thought and kindness into this project while dealing with the difficulties of trading restrictions imposed by the Covid crisis.
"Throughout December, we have been donating food parcels, bags filled with Christmas treats and gifts to all and we could not do it without the support of our community."
The Christmas period can usually add more stress to the services offered by the town's Foodbank and this year the charity has needed more support than ever from the community.
Also included in the boxes were gift vouchers for G3 - which John revealed were put to use in no time.
Mr Tarncock said: "Within an hour people came into our store with the vouchers which is great for us since we have had a rough start to December after our initial lockdown success.
"We hope people remember to shop local because we, like many businesses in the area, are dreading the thought of a January lockdown."
The store owner said he is in awe of the support provided by the Foodbank, but stressed how sad it is so many families rely on it.
He said: "The number of people donating when we entered was amazing to see - but it is sad to think of how many people rely on this great place to provide donations.
"No family should have to be in that situation so it was bittersweet to be donating the toys."
Due to the success of the appeal, John wants to make the G3 toy drive an annual event - but will keep the GoFundMe page open to donations all year round.
He said: "We want to continue helping the people of Weston and, hopefully, by collecting donations all year round we can see the amount raised double, triple or even quadruple.
"It has lovely to help out this year and the Foodbank was stunned by the generosity of our donators but hopefully we can do even better next year."
The gift store will also remain open throughout the Christmas period and offers Covid-friendly measures to keep customers safe.
Donations can also be made in-store or by contacting staff members via the Facebook page www.facebook.com/GeekGiftsGalore