TODAY the Glasgow Times has launched its free Bank on Us toy appeal donation bags in a bid to save Christmas for the city’s children.

The coronavirus pandemic has left a trail of devastation in its wake and, as a result, this Christmas will be like we’ve never seen before.

Every year, the stress of the festive period puts pressure on all families and in 2020, it’s expected to be tougher than ever after tough restrictions have necessary to control the virus have resulted in job losses and business closures.

That’s why the Glasgow Times is stepping in to ensure no child wakes up without a present under the tree on December 25 and, with just three weeks to go until the big day, we need the help of our wonderful readers.

Assistant editor Stacey Mullen said: “Today marks an exciting and important chapter in the Glasgow Times Bank on Us Toy Appeal as we launch our free donation bags.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought devastating loss to many families across our city and, sadly, this Christmas will not be the joyful time it should be for thousands of people.

“Our goal is to save Christmas for Glasgow’s kids and with the generosity our readers showed last year when we launched our Bank On Us campaign to provide emergency food parcels, we are confident they will back our latest campaign to spread some joy to those who need it the most during the festive season.”

The bags are to be filled with toys – which must be newly bought due to Covid-19 safety protocols – and delivered to local toy banks.

Alternatively, they can be given to our corporate sponsors – A1 Toys or Storage Vault – or with the Glasgow Times team.

From there, they will be distributed to charities and local groups, as well as a number of schools, who will share the gifts with children who need it.

G53 Together is just one toy bank which is ready and waiting to accept donations.

Glasgow City Council’s depute leader Councillor David McDonald backed our campaign.

He said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Glasgow Times Bank on Us toy appeal.

“We’ve all had to live through some difficult days this year, but thanks to Glasgow Times readers kids across the city will have a merrier Christmas.

“Glasgow is a city famous for having a big heart, so if you can please donate a new toy to the appealand let’s end this dark year by sharing light, joy and the Christmas spirit.”

Football stars and Open Goal podcast hosts Si Ferry, Andy Halliday and Kevin Kyle have also joined forces with the Glasgow Times to sponsor the appeal.

Earlier this week, the lads said the campaign had made them “realise” what matters most when they were feeling down about football.

While our fellow corporate sponsors – First Bus and Scotwest Credit Union – have also shared their joy at the reveal of our donation bags.

Duncan Cameron, operations director for First Glasgow – which will help with the distribution of the bags – said: “We are thrilled to see the launch of the bags in today’s paper and I hope it is a campaign that the whole of the city gets behind this year to make this an extra special Christmas for those families in need.

“We have all faced up to a terrible 2020 together and so hopefully we can all come together one last time to end the year on a positive note and spread some much needed festive cheer.

“Our team are looking forward to collecting the donations and fulfilling our role to get them into the hands of excited kids around the city.”

A1 Toys will take bags in via their click and collect service while shops are closed due to restrictions.

For every bag donated, the toy retailer will add an extra 20% of value.

A full list of where to donate the bags can be found on pages six and seven of today’s paper. For those who would rather donate online, cash gifts can be made via our Go Fund Me page.

Despite only going live earlier this week, the page has already gathered more than £500.

To donate, visit here.