THE return of the Press Christmas Toy Appeal has been hailed by politicians for spreading joy during an "extremely tough" time for families.

With generous support from ExxonMobil, this year all donations will be directed to Dunfermline Foodbank for distribution across West Fife, ensuring that every child has a present wrapped under the tree.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman said: "Over the years, the Dunfermline Press has done sterling work to provide toys to children who might not receive very much on Christmas Day.

"This year, this appeal seems all the more important as West Fife communities face a particularly challenging time due to the double whammy of the shocking cost-of-living and energy crises.

"If you feel you are in a position to make a donation, please choose this worthwhile appeal and bring some joy to a child on Christmas Day."

Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP for Dunfermline and West Fife, added: "I am delighted to hear that the fantastic Christmas Toy Appeal is being held again this year.

"I'd like to congratulate the Dunfermline Press and ExxonMobil for their efforts in ensuring local kids feel the festive joy by getting to open their own gift on Christmas morning.

"Times are extremely tough for a lot of households right now and I'm sure many families will welcome this kind gesture.

"I would encourage everyone who is able to take part to consider donating – you might just make a Christmas wish come true."

All five Dunfermline area foodbanks – Rosyth, Inverkeithing, Benarty, Cowdenbeath, and the central Pitreavie Business Park warehouse – will give a gift to every person who is referred to them in December.

Neale Hanvey, MP for Cowdenbeath, said: "Dunfermline Foodbank continues to provide vital support to my West Fife constituents living across the Cowdenbeath and Benarty areas, despite facing hugely-increased operational costs.

"I’m asking local folk to be kind to themselves by scaling back on their own spending, and to be kind to others who have less. I’ll be buying meaningful gifts from local traders to support small businesses, and donating to local charity Christmas appeals. Every gift contribution to the Press appeal, however small, ensures everyone who needs a food parcel will also get a gift.

"How we respond to the cost-of-living crisis as a community makes all the difference to our most vulnerable neighbours."

Annabelle Ewing, MSP for Cowdenbeath, said: "With the cost of living rocketing, there is no doubt that this Christmas will bring more challenges than ever for many West Fife families so I am delighted to once again support the Dunfermline Press annual Christmas Toy Appeal.

"Many thanks also to ExxonMobil for the backing they are giving to this great cause and I am sure that readers of the Dunfermline Press will respond with their usual amazing generosity."

The City of Dunfermline area convenor, Councillor James Calder, said: "This year, more than ever, it's going to make a huge difference to people, it's a really difficult time for a lot of families right now, we're at a situation this Christmas where there are a lot of families whose primary thoughts are how they pay for food on their tables or their heating bills.

"It's going to be a difficult time for a lot of children as well, I know myself as a dad how much happiness this time of year can bring to a child and this could make the difference for a lot of families.

"I've had a lot of people get in touch with concerns and worries going into this winter and I know that my other colleagues at the council across the political spectrum have the same concerns and worries as well.

"Every bit that can be done to help just now will go a long way."

David Barratt, SNP councillor for Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, added: "This year, I know loads of families are desperate to try and cut back and a lot of families are keeping Christmas going for the kids but not for everyone else, not doing as much gift-giving, or scaling back on Christmas generally. Anything that can help is important."

And Graeme Downie, Scottish Labour councillor for West Fife & Coastal Villages, said constituents had already offered their support.

"The villages in West Fife are particularly close communities and it is important to people that every child has a good Christmas," he said.

"Since the launch of the Dunfermline Press Christmas appeal, people across the West Fife villages have told me they will be donating to the campaign.

"Thank you to the Dunfermline Press, ExxonMobil and the Dunfermline Foodbank."

Look out for a special bag, inserted into the Press edition on December 7. Anyone who would like to donate can hand their gift bag into the Dunfermline Foodbank warehouse at Unit 1C Pitreavie Business Park on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 4-6pm.

Throughout December, the Foodbank will be open outwith these hours and readers can call Sandra Beveridge on 05780 231286 for more information.