A five-year-old girl offered to give her toys to Santa as a community rallied round to save Christmas for hundreds of Fife youngsters.
The touching gesture was revealed as an online fundraising page received more than £1,400 in donations for Kirkcaldy’s Cottage Family Centre in less than a day.
The impressive amount is almost double that stolen by sick thieves during a raid on the town’s Hayfield Community Centre on Sunday.
The £835 taken had been raised at a Christmas fair organised by local women Linzie Kerr and Debbie Maxwell and was destined for the Cottage’s annual appeal to buy Christmas dinner for 1,100 needy children and their families who would otherwise have gone without.
On hearing the devastating news, the horrified community banded together to replace the lost cash and have donated much more than the original total.
A delighted Linzie said she and Debbie had also been handed hundreds of pounds in cash donations by kind-hearted friends, neighbours and business people.
“Debbie phoned to tell me when the page got to £1,000. She was in tears and I was in tears,” she said.
“Debbie’s daughter Ayla has just turned five and she turned to her and said ‘I don’t like this, can I give my toys to Santa?'”
She added: “What happened was horrible but the real community just kept giving and showed the real meaning of community spirit.”
The Cottage Centre said it “hugely appreciated” the donations and added: “We are not going to let the actions of those who have committed this crime deter us from our mission which is to ensure our children and families have food in their bellies and toys and gifts from Santa this Christmas.”
The centre in Cawdor Crescent is still appealing for cash and gifts, particularly for children aged between eight and 13.
Police have appealed for witnesses to the break-in, which occurred at the Hayfield Road community centre sometime between 1pm on Sunday and 6.20am on Monday.
As well as cash, various pieces of computer equipment and a number of children’s toys were stolen.
Inspector Joanne McEwan said: “Those responsible for this incident have taken vital funding for a charity, as well as gifts intended for children in need at Christmas and we are actively pursuing various lines of inquiry to identify the culprits.”
Anyone who saw any suspicious activity around the community centre is asked to contact Kirkcaldy police station on 101, quoting incident number 521 of December 3.