Lorry drivers lead Operation Christmas to bring presents to children
- Credit: Dennis Anderson
A group of Suffolk truckers are giving up their spare time and raising money for Christmas presents to "give something back" to the community.
Dennis Anderson, from Ipswich, is leading a team of HGV drivers who will be delivering toys to the Salvation Army and other charities in the build-up to Christmas.
The 39-year-old is co-ordinating the East Anglian effort for 'Operation Christmas 2021', a team of truckers who are fundraising for presents for disadvantaged families.
Mr Anderson said he was inspired to take part in the initiative after reading reports of the lorry driver shortage and how it could affect deliveries at retailers.
He said there is a "stigma" and "bad publicity" surrounding drivers and feels they have been unfairly blamed for the shortage.
Mr Anderson has created an Amazon wishlist from which people can buy small gifts from.
He and other drivers will then donate to the Salvation Army.
Those gifts will then be sent to families across Suffolk and the surrounding counties in the week before Christmas.
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Mr Anderson said: "We have a group of lorry drivers and we're all on this app where we talk with each other.
"There's a stigma that shelves are going to be empty and there's been a bit of bad publicity around about lorry drivers ruining Christmas, but that is not true.
"We're going to be collecting gifts from an Amazon wishlist. People will buy the toys, they get delivered and all put in a big bag. It will then go to the Salvation Army and Sure Start.
"We've got a lot of toys so far. We've all thought 'let's give something back to our communities this Christmas'. We're all doing this in our spare time.
"There will be people who will start panic buying, so there will be a lot of children who will wake up with nothing.
"These presents will be stocking fillers, but they all count.
"I know there will be families who have not been able to have a good Christmas before. People have been struggling recently — it's been hard."