EVER wondered what happens after you donate a doll, book or ball to the Mail office for the Toys on the Table appeal?
Well, we took a tour of the depot at Matrix House, Leicester, where all the magic takes place so we could let you know how it all happens.
What strikes you most of all upon entering the depot is that this is no small operation. There is military precision to the way in which the toys are stored, sorted and wrapped.
Terry Watts, chairman of the Toys on the Table trustees, kindly gave me a tour of the building and we start where the presents come in.
There is a room with tables that are stacked with toys.
There are Barbie dolls, jingling-jangling stuffed lions, board games and countless play-things for children of all ages.
It is in this room that the presents are sorted. First into toys that are appropriate for girls and boys, and also into toys that are suitable for all ages.
Items are also sorted into various age ranges. As we step out of the room there are two large tables of books to one side and a huge section where cuddly toys are stored.
There is even a shelf for stocking fillers.
Looking around, my heart bursts with Christmas cheer as I realise that behind each and every one of these toys is a kind- hearted individual who just wants to help make Christmas special for one child.
With a little choke in my throat, Terry then leads me through to the next stage of the toy-sorting process. Each gift is given a number and each child referred to the charity is also given a number.
This then avoids duplication and makes sure that no child is ever given the same gift twice.
Referrals come from social workers and children’s charities among others.
After a toy has been allocated to a child, the wrapping begins and once wrapped, the presents are picked up at the depot by whoever it is who has made the referral.
There is a home for every toy and even those that have been donated which are not new will be picked up from Terry and his team by Leicester hospice charity Loros.
The volunteers who work here are tireless and do not wish to stop even to have their photo taken by the Mail.
I am impressed and humbled by an operation which involves so many people, to help children of all ages.