Published: 14 Jan 2015

A van loaned to The Salvation Army by a motor dealer group in the North East created a big boost to the Church and charity’s annual Christmas present campaign in Sunderland.

Jennings Ford’s Commercial Sales Centre in Middlesbrough donated the use of a Ford Transit van for the duration of the appeal, with the aim to assist with the collection and delivery of gifts at The Salvation Army’s Southwick Community Project, based in Sunderland.

The Christmas Present Appeal has been running for many years in Sunderland and provides gifts to the most vulnerable people in the region who would not otherwise receive a gift on Christmas Day.

Throughout December the Jennings Ford Transit van was regularly seen driving around the streets of Sunderland picking up the gifts kindly donated by the community logoed for Jennings Motor Group

Graham Wharton, centre manager at The Salvation Army’s Southwick Community Project was on collection duty throughout the run up to Christmas.  He said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support given to us from Jennings Ford for our Christmas 2014 appeal.  Being able to use the van made it so much easier to go and collect the gifts generously donated by the people of Southwick.”

For the past 16 consecutive years, Jennings Motor Group has supported the appeal by using its branch network across the region as ‘drop-off’ and ‘collection’ points.  In addition to donating the use of the Ford Transit van, the region’s longest established motor dealer group kick-started 2014’s appeal with a £1000 donation of gifts for all ages, which were given to The Salvation Army’s Northern Divisional Head Quarters to distribute.  In Sunderland alone, The Salvation Army provided 557 children with something to open on Christmas Day.  The Church and charity receives referrals from a number of different agencies and ensure every child who needs a toy receives one so nobody goes without.

Alan Bailes, commercial general sales manager at Jennings Ford’s Middlesbrough site, said; “We were more than willing to assist The Salvation Army by donating the use of one of our Ford Transit models from the award-winning range.

“The Salvation Army do a fantastic job in the local community, not just at Christmas time, but all year round.”

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