WE had an "unbelievable" response to the Times Christmas Toy Appeal last year and we're hoping to help lots of local families again this festive season.

The amount of donations handed into the Benarty, Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline foodbanks meant they were very busy elves in the run-up to the big day, handing out gifts, food and festive treats to those in need.

We've teamed up with them again, and ExxonMobil, to try and deliver a very Happy Christmas to families who may be struggling with soaring food and energy prices.

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In next week's edition you'll find a donation bag and we're asking, if you can, to pop a toy in it and take it to one of the foodbanks, who will then make sure that those who are struggling the most won't go without.

Central Fife Times: Sandra Beveridge from Dunfermline Foodbank, Provost Jim Leishman and Robert Stalker of the Mary Leishman Foundation with some of the many gifts that were donated last year.Sandra Beveridge from Dunfermline Foodbank, Provost Jim Leishman and Robert Stalker of the Mary Leishman Foundation with some of the many gifts that were donated last year. (Image: David Wardle)

Benarty foodbank is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Cowdenbeath is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, both 4 to 6pm.

They are overseen by Dunfermline Foodbank and you can also take donations to their warehouse at Unit 1C, Pitreavie Business Park, Dunfermline, on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 4pm and 6pm.

Last year one kind-hearted couple donated £150 worth of toys as they "couldn't bear the thought of a child waking up to nothing" on Christmas morning.

That kind of generosity of community spirit in the Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly areas, especially in tough times, has been truly inspirational and we're aiming to ensure the foodbank premises are filled with sackfuls of gifts and food.

Sandra Beveridge, project manager at Dunfermline Foodbank, said: "We cannot thank the people of West and Central Fife enough for doing this for local children at Christmas time.

“No one should wake up on Christmas morning to nothing.

“The donations of toys, and food if you can, will go a long way to make many people happy this Christmas and hopefully take some stress away from the current crisis we are in.”

With the cost of living crisis continuing to bite and the prospect of soaring energy bills as people try to heat their homes this winter, there will unfortunately be plenty of people who are in need of the foodbank this Christmas.

Stuart Neill, external affairs manager at ExxonMobil's Fife Ethylene Plant, said: “We have a strong history of providing a helping hand wherever we can and are proud to be continuing that tradition again this year with the Central Fife Times and Dunfermline Foodbank.

“We have been impressed by the generosity of the newspaper and its readers with previous Christmas appeals and we are thrilled to be working together to bring some joy to families at this special time of year."

As well as the toy appeal, the foodbank would also welcome donations of food to help those who have fallen on hard times.

Currently, the foodbank is in need of tinned foods including meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, long life milk, coffee and tea, sugar, Mug Shots or Cuppa Soups, tinned macaroni or spaghetti, instant mashed potatoes, long life or diluting juice and cheesy pasta.

Other essentials such as washing up liquid, shampoo and conditioner are also welcome.