Camp Simcha’s toy story!
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Camp Simcha’s toy story!

Ahead of Chanukah we look at the British Jewish charity's work working with schools, synagogues and community groups

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

True to form, Camp Simcha kicks off Chanukah this year with its annual Toy Drive, which sees more than 60 schools, synagogues and community groups collecting new toys to be distributed to children of all denominations spending the festive season in hospital.

On Sunday, 2 December, dozens of volunteers will come along to Camp Simcha’s packing morning to sort the toys which will then be delivered to more than 100 hospital wards and hospices throughout London and the surrounding areas.

It is not always easy to imagine how much a surprise gift can mean to a child in hospital, but one mother’s story tells it all. She says: “A toy Camp Simcha donated turned the day around for my traumatised three-year-old after yet another incredibly difficult blood test.

“These tests are a very regular necessity for him to track his declining kidney function and in terms of how many he’s had since birth he’s easily in the triple digits already.

“They don’t get any easier – if anything, they’re worse as his awareness grows – and this small contribution from Camp Simcha UK turned a very dark experience for him today into a positive one, which no doubt will help next time round.”

There is still time to drop your toys into the Camp Simcha offices tomorrow – or even to the packing morning. Camp Simcha will also be rounding off the year with its Chanukah parties in London and Manchester and its annual children’s retreatwith 2019 looking equally busy.

For more information on how to donate a new gift to the Toy Drive, call the Camp Simcha office on 020 8202 9297.

You can choose a toy for a child Camp Simcha supports from the Amazon wish list: www.campsimcha.org.uk/toydrive 

Emma Bunton and Minnie Mouse meet a young patient during a Camp Simcha event

Eight bright highlights for Camp Simcha in 2019

  1. The charity’s biennial dinner in March will bring 1,000 supporters together to hear about the work the charity is doing and its plans for the future.
  2. Camp Simcha’s Evie’s Night Owls respite service, in memory of Camp Simcha child Evie Bladon, launches its ‘Evie’s Night In’ fundraising initiative, encouraging people of all ages to host a social night in for the new service.
  3. The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is due to open, which, with the support of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, will include a room with provision for Jewish families referred by Camp Simcha.
  4. Camp Simcha will be broadening its sibling support services with more art provision and dedicated siblings’ groups with age-specific activities.
  5. There will be four retreats packed with fantastic activities for seriously-ill children and their families.
  6. Camp Simcha is working with the Joely Bear Appeal to roll out its Edgware Blood Donor drive.
  7. Bear Grylls meets the Hunger Games in Camp Simcha’s epic new team challenge event in the summer, The Chutzpah Games.
  8. Expansion of The Treehouse at Number 9 project which sees Camp Simcha staff delivering a programme for schools about celebrating difference.
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