TODAY the Adver is calling on its generous readers to help put big smiles on the faces of less fortunate children around Swindon.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year for many but some families around town find it hard to cover the cost of Christmas.

The Salvation Army, backed by the Adver, is encouraging people to add an extra toy to their festive shopping list to be donated to those struggling to afford a gift for their children.

The aim is that every child has something under the tree to unwrap on Christmas Day .

Captain Sandra Hall from Swindon’s Salvation Army church in Gorse Hill said: “We have held this appeal in Swindon for the last eight years and it makes such a big difference.

“Last year we helped 100 families and this year we hope to help even more.

“We are very grateful for all the donations we receive and we never take this generosity for granted. People have been so kind.

“Some of the families come to us to collect their gifts but most of them are delivered through social services and to the women’s refuge.”

Her husband Captain Chris Hall said: “This is part of the DNA of the Salvation Army.

"It’s a mission to help people and it’s one of a number of things we do, working 24/7 year-round.

The Salvation Army’s Christmas presents appeal is also supported by The Entertainer.

Though this year’s effort has only just begun, kind-hearted Swindonians have already started sending in and dropping off piles of presents.

Adver editor Pete Gavan said: “We are delighted to support this important appeal by the Salvation Army.

"Let’s give Santa a helping hand this Christmas and make sure that every child has something to celebrate.

“Your kind donations will create priceless memories for so many children all over Swindon on Christmas Day so please get involved."

Donate new, unused and unwrapped toys for babies, toddlers and children aged up to 16 years old to The Salvation Army on Chapel Street in Gorse Hill, SN2 8DA.

If the church is closed, visit the Salvation Army charity shop on Cricklade Road and let them know your donation is for the Christmas present appeal.

The charity will then sort and distribute all the gifts to children and families in the area through its networks, local groups and social services.

Gifts can include anything from soft and educational toys for the very youngest child, to games, toys and accessories for older children.