FUNDRAISING NEWS: Campaign Watch - Just Breaking

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The Salvation Army is joining forces next week with ITV1's This Morning programme and retailer Superdrug, for the charity's annual Pass the Parcel Toy Appeal.

The appeal, which encourages TV viewers to donate toys for needy children throughout the UK, is now in its fifth year.

"I can't say how many toys have been donated over the past four years, but it runs into millions of pounds worth of gifts in kind," said Salvation Army head of external relations Dean Pallant.

Members of the public are asked to "buy an extra toy this Christmas" and donate it by dropping it off at their local Superdrug store. The gifts are then distributed by the Salvation Army's 800 centres or by local partner agencies such as single-parent support networks and family centres.

The key to the success of the campaign, he said, was the high media profile offered by the This Morning programme, the Salvation Army's reputation of working with disadvantaged families, and having a retailer with national coverage.

In previous years the charity has worked with Boots, and last year with Asda and BHS. "The advantage of Superdrug is that it has 700 outlets where members of the public can donate toys," said Pallant.

The campaign originated with an approach by This Morning to the Salvation Army. The programme regarded the Army, with its Christian ethos and track record of work in excluded communities, as a natural partner.

The programme plugs the appeal between 17 November and 14 December. This will include filmed case studies, showing the delight of children who have received presents.

"It's valuable that This Morning's coverage includes follow-up reports on the effects of the appeal, as that really shows viewers the benefits of donating," said Pallant.

The gifts are distributed to children aged up to 16. Since many donors are naturally drawn to donating toys for toddlers, the Salvation Army and This Morning presenters Fern Britten and Philip Schofield (pictured) will highlight the need for toys that appeal to adolescents.

Fern Britten said: "It's a great way for anyone to make a difference to children's lives. We're so pleased to be working with the Salvation Army again."

Pallant said the campaign benefited all the partners involved: "This Morning is able to run a Christmas campaign, Superdrug gets good publicity and sells toys, and we are able to boost our work with families in need."

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