WITH Christmas just weeks away many organisations are gearing up to help those less fortunate.

The Salvation Army in Garden Road, Wrexham, is offering a range of support for those in need over the festive season, including a memory cafe, a live outdoor nativity, luncheon clubs and more.

One way the church is preparing to help the community is by distributing gifts for an estimated 500 children who may not otherwise receive any presents.

Capt Ian Davies, who joined Wrexham Salvation Army with his wife Capt Sandy Davies two-and-a-half years ago, said the gifts have been donated by members of the public, businesses, schools, community groups and church congregations across Wrexham.

He said: “Predominantly we are a church and any of the community work we do is out of our church ethos of heart to God, hand to man.

“For the Salvation Army that is very much shown in acts of practical kindness to the people who live in our community.

“Very often there is a general perception of the Salvation Army that we work with homeless people, but we work with all sections of our community – homeless people, families, children, older people.

“Christmas is an opportunity to concentrate on children from disadvantaged families. Each year we invite family teams and social workers to refer children to us who otherwise would not have toys for Christmas.

“We are very fortunate the general public are generous to us and so we receive lots of donated gifts. We receive presents suitable for babies right through to teenagers.

“We only give out new toys. Our feeling is we would want to give our children new toys so that is what we would want those children to get as well.

“We can only do what we do because of the generosity of the public. It is very humbling that people trust us to work on their behalf.”

He explained the church also receives donations of money which is used to buy a variety of gifts to add to the appeal.

Karen Edwards, community manager at Wrexham Salvation Army, said: “We’ve had things from scooters to dance mats, all sorts of really large toys, tea sets; it is amazing, the generosity and the size of toys that have come in.

“We were up to 410 children but that was before we started on the lists that came in after our deadline so we’re probably at more like 500 children now.

“They are all referred to us by professional agencies. There is a whole variety of professionals who are working with these families so we know they are genuine cases.

“The agencies that referred them then come and collect the gifts, then deliver them to the people.

“It is sad there is a need but the fact that people respond to that need is overwhelming.”

The gifts, which have been wrapped and labelled ready for Christmas Day, will be collected from the church next week.

The church will also be hosting a Christmas dinner – for which interested people must contact the Salvation Army in advance.

Captain Davies said: “People will arrive here at around 11am and they will be here until about 3pm.

“There will be a two course meal and that is not for one particular group of people, that will be anyone who will be lonely or unable to buy a Christmas dinner for themselves.

“That is not open for anyone to turn up on the day. People can contact us directly here and refer themselves or better still if they are referred through a support agency.”

He added the meal, which will be prepared and served by volunteers, will cater for up to 60 people and anyone interested in offering help can get in touch by email at wrexham@salvationarmy.org.uk or by phone on 01978 311076. Alternatively search for ‘Wrexham Salvation Army Church & ARK Community Centre’ on Facebook.

Other activities to be hosted by the Salvation Army this month include a forget-me-not memory cafe tomorrow, aimed at people who have memory loss problems.

The event, which will take place between 2pm and 4pm, includes performances by musicians and attendees singing carols that they have known over the years.

On Sunday the church will host children’s craft activities and games from 3pm to 5pm.

Every Wednesday the church hosts a luncheon club from 12pm, followed by a good company
group from 1.15pm, which is a Christian-based group.

On December 22 there will be a live nativity and carols in the park opposite the Salvation Army in Garden Road, with performances by the church band.

Captain Davies also said the Salvation Army brass band and choir will be performing at more than 20 events around Wrexham in order to spread Christmas cheer.

To find out more about the Wrexham Salvation Army visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/wrexham