Charitable toy story impresses David Cameron


A north London lawyer who founded a charity to distribute toys and books to impoverished children across the world has been honoured by David Cameron.

Shelley Schachter-Cahm, 47, received a Point of Light award — recognising “outstanding volunteers” — for the work of Toy Drop. She established the charity 12 years ago after a “life-changing” visit to the Philippines.

“I put together a shoebox of toothbrushes, dolls, packs of cards and toys and gave it to the orphanage. It was late December, and all the girls over the age of nine, about 50 of them, came up to me.

“They said: ‘Can we just keep one thing from the box, and distribute the rest to the poor?’” The experience had been humbling.

She worked with the United Synagogue. “They advertise on their internal memorandums and they engage with the shuls and ask them to host collections. I also work with Alyth [Reform], who do collections for me. But if anyone wants to give me toys, I will take them.”

Ms Schachter-Cahm said it had been “overwhelming” to receive the award, particularly as the Prime Minister took a keen interest in the cause.

“I was really flattered that David Cameron wanted to sit down and talk about it rather than just give me a piece of paper. He told me how he’s a toy hoarder but Samantha has to throw them away because they don’t have the room. They are short on space, like everyone in London.”

The mother-of-two, a member of both Muswell Hill Synagogue and Alyth, added that “the main point is to make kids happy.

“To be given something anonymously, rather than having to hold out their hands and say ‘thank you’ — that’s a game-changer.”

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