JENNINGS Motor Group arranged an early visit from Santa to help spread the word about The Salvation Army’s Christmas Present Appeal.
For nearly two decades, the region’s motor dealer group, which operates Ford, Kia, Mazda and Seat car branches, has used its branch network as drop-off and collection points for gift donations.
To kick-start this year’s appeal, Santa made a special visit to the group’s Ford dealership on Eslington Park in Gateshead, where he presented gifts alongside Jennings Motor Group’s director, Sohail Khan, to Major David Burns, divisional commander for The Salvation Army in north-east England.
Santa then made his way to Jennings Ford’s Cargo Fleet Lane dealership in Middlesbrough, where more gifts were presented to The Salvation Army’s Middlesbrough-based toy appeal co-ordinators Kath Callan and Chris Loughran.
Sohail Khan, director at Jennings Motor Group, said: ‘It was an absolute pleasure presenting the gifts for this year’s appeal, which is always widely welcomed by staff, customers and members of the public who want to do their bit by helping the most vulnerable in society.
‘We first started supporting the appeal in 1998 when we were solely a Ford dealer. Since then, the business has expanded with additional marques and new business ventures, during which time demand for The Salvation Army to support more people in the community not just at Christmas time but all year round has also increased.’
Major Burns said: ‘During the festive season, when many are enjoying celebrations with friends and family, others are struggling to make ends meet and can feel isolated from celebrations.
‘The Christmas story inspires us to reach out to others. We’re grateful for the support for our appeal each year from Jennings Motor Group and to our generous communities who continue to help us support those most vulnerable at Christmas time.’
New non-wrapped toys for children, gifts for teenagers and elderly people, as well as non-perishable food items and Christmas confectionery can be taken to any of Jennings Motor Group’s branches at Gateshead, Washington, South Shields, Stockton and Middlesbrough.
Pictured from left are Santa and Sohail Khan with The Salvation Army’s Middlesbrough-based toy appeal co-ordinators Chris Loughran and Kath Callan
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