Sikh Toy Appeal gifts chocolate eggs to mark Easter and Vaisakhi in Wolverhampton

Thousands of chocolate treats and hundreds of children's toys have been gifted to youngsters to celebrate two faith festivals.

More than 5,000 Easter eggs have been collected from generous businesses supporting Wolverhampton-based Sikh Toy Appeal.

The donations have been handed out to children across Wolverhampton to mark Christian celebrations for Easter and the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.

Senior co-ordinator Manny Johal said: "We have been to schools in deprived areas, as well as areas where there are a lot of refugee children.

"We have done this to celebrate both Easter and Vaisakhi because we believe it's not about your race or background, it's about helping people out.

"Everyone knows about Easter but a lot of people don't know what Vaisakhi is. This was about bringing communities together."

The team spent the past fortnight collecting donations from generous businesses across the region, as well as further afield.

Youngsters at special needs schools across Wolverhampton have benefited - including Broadmeadow Special School - with Easter eggs handed to every pupil at each school to mark the upcoming celebration.

Eggs were given to organisations across the Black Country, including Wolverhampton's The Haven and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

The appeal also saw the team travel to Banbury and Liverpool to distribute the chocolate gifts, with more than 2,000 eggs handed out.

Mr Johal said: "We are born and bred in Wolverhampton. This is our way of giving back to the community. Most of our donors have been from the Sikh community.

"It's fantastic. We are all about helping children, vulnerable families and parents that haven't got the money to buy toys.

"I love the fact that when you go to schools and see the smiles on the children's faces when you give them a toy or Easter egg, they are so happy."

Toys left over from the group's Christmas appeal - which saw 11,272 toys distributed across the region - were also gifted to schools to use in classrooms to mark Vaisakhi.

The team also distributed toys to children visiting Upper Villiers Street's Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on Sunday.

Vaisakhi was celebrated by Sikhs across the globe on Sunday, to mark 320 years since the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699.

This was when the tenth Guru called on individuals to sacrifice themselves as part of his test of faith, with the five volunteers then forming the Panj Pyare (five beloved ones) to lead fellow Sikhs.

Sunday also marked the beginning of the second month of Vaisakh in the Nanakshahi calendar, adopted by Sikhs.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News