More than 600 children living in poverty in East Kilbride woke up with an unwrapped gift on Christmas morning thanks to the generosity of the city.
After an overwhelming response to this year’s Salvation Army toy call, a mountain of donated toys and gifts were delivered to underprivileged children to ensure that no child in East Kilbride saw a Dark Christmas.
And thanks to a huge increase in cash donations this year, volunteers were able to purchase a fantastic selection of gifts and a selection box for each child.
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Unexpectedly, despite the enormous financial pressures facing families amid the Covid pandemic, this year has seen 100 fewer young people in need – a statistic which was hailed by call organizer Carol Gillies .
Carol, who has been leading the toy call for 12 years, said: “I was pleasantly surprised that there weren’t more kids in need of our help this year. Maybe because there are there are more calls for toys in the city.
“If we can reduce the numbers, that’s great.”
The Salvation Army East Kilbride would like to warmly thank everyone who supported this year’s appeal.
Generous donations have come from regular contributors Graystone Construction who also provide a van and two employee volunteers to help with deliveries.
Thanks also to Trinity Church in Strathaven who still support the call, Abbey Lodge Care Home and the 2014 Rolls-Royce team who donated over £ 300.
Schools also got involved with Kirktonholme Primary by hosting their own Salvation Army toy appeal and many school staff donated to the cause for their Secret Santa gift.
Special thanks to Nationwide East Kilbride who was still a drop-off point this year and dropped off a toy “truck”.
Carol added, “We have had a fabulous amount of schools, groups and businesses this year, and many members of the community have gone out of their way to drop toys off at church which was lovely.
“There were also a lot of monetary donations that allowed us to buy what we needed as we needed it.
“We had an anonymous donation of hundreds of pounds that covered all the teenage gifts – we didn’t fight for anything this year.
“And for the first time, we were able to add a selection box to each child’s gift bag.”
And the community spirit was alive and well as a small army of volunteers descended into the parish hall for the colossal task of wrapping all the gifts.
“Help came from moms who attended the church toddler group, it was so nice to have people in the building again – I wasn’t so alone after having everything did it on its own during the lockdown last year, ”Carol said.
“It was a social occasion – but socially distant!”
She added: “Our motto is ‘Heart to God and Hands to Man’, it has always been the philosophy of the military to be of support for those in need.
“We are truly a church, but community-based. If we can help anyone, we will.”
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