Charities supporting gift giving for children this holiday season

Author's position
Development Officer: School Involvement
Primary interest
Families and Parenting

This article was updated on 18 November with details from The Salvation Army

The winter holidays are fast approaching, and with this second lockdown affecting livelihoods and incomes, families will undoubtedly be anxious about providing for their children. There are a handful of charities in and around Reading able to support gift giving this year. Below please find their links and a brief description of referral pathways.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is offering Christmas hampers, vouchers for a Christmas lunch food shop, and toys for children whose families are experiencing hard times this winter.

  • Each offer is by referral. Please contact Richard Welch, Commanding Officer at The Salvation Army by mobile: 07810 789 553 or email at

Additionally, The Salvation Army is collecting monetary donations for purchase and distribution of hampers, vouchers and toys. This year the need is greater and Salvation Army donation points and carollers in the community will be limited due to Covid restrictions.

First Days

First Days Children’s Charity is a Hurst-based charity supplying early years clothing, gear and supplies to vulnerable families as well as school uniforms to primary and secondary school-age children, in addition to a holiday stocking programme. This holiday programme is available for families with children ages 0–11, however, stockings will be provided for older children within these families.

  • Due date for referrals is Friday 13 November and deliveries will be made direct to client homes by Friday 18 December.
  • Website:
The Cowshed

The Cowshed is a Hurst-based charity supplying clothing from infants to adults, bedding, prom dresses and this year – Christmas gifts and non-perishable food parcels. Volunteers make reusable cloth bags to hold items and in most cases, supply delivery to the client’s front door. Referrals can be made via health professionals, charities, churches, social services, schools and other professional bodies. The Christmas Gift Sack will be age-appropriate items for children, wrapped and ready for families.

Reading Family Aid

Reading Family Aid is collecting monetary donations for purchase and distribution of wrapped gifts for families of disadvantaged children and teens, via select community partners and charities. Due to Covid restrictions, no gift collection points will be set-up in neighbourhoods across Reading this year.

The Giving Tree

Through Connect Reading’s annual Christmas campaign, members of the public and local businesses can give a gift to a disadvantaged child or young person in Reading. Gifts are distributed via Connect Reading’s member charities. Read more on Connect Reading’s website and donate here.