While many of us were chasing around last minute shopping and making final preparations for Christmas, a band of women in Clydesdale were busy packing and distributing a huge pile of donated gifts for newly arrived refugees, Food Banks and Women’s Aid centres.
The newly formed WomenKIND Clydesdale had launched two projects before Christmas in response to the hardships families were facing across Clydesdale.
The two projects received an overwhelming response from people across the whole of Clydesdale and beyond.
Donations of handbags came in as word spread of the goal to provide a nearly new handbag filled with lovely goodies so that children living in poverty could give their Mums a special Christmas present.
Over 140 filled bags were donated, carefully wrapped and distributed via Food Banks and Women’s Aid projects across Clydesdale and Edinburgh.
The Crayons for Weans project also caught the imagination of schools and individuals across Clydesdale who donated broken crayon and drawings which were then made into over 160 beautiful packs of remoulded crayons and a colouring book of original art designed by children for refugee families as a welcome gift.
Packs were also distributed to families struggling across Clydesdale via Healthy Valleys projects.
WomenKIND Clydesdale founding member Jan Currie was quite overwhelmed by the generosity of the response.
“We really thought that we might manage to make up a few packs of crayons for refugees arriving in South Lanarkshire and that we could possibly manage 25 handbags,” she said.
“But we were so touched by the kindness and generosity of people from across the whole of Clydesdale.
“It absolutely showed that people want to help and reach out with kindness.”
“Thanks to the support of The Gazette, with their article in December, the word quickly spread and we found ourselves being contacted by people across the whole of Clydesdale.
“We are indebted to the Gazette for their publicity, Healthy Valleys for their guidance and also to The Gillespie Centre in Biggar who acted as a collection point for the handbags. And of course to all the individuals, schools and nurseries, shops and libraries and community centres who organised crayon collections and made donations – a huge thank you!
“You have brought a little happiness to families who were struggling at Christmas”
Spurred by the response of the community, WomenKIND Clydesdale are pressing on with their next project – The Back to School Bank. This project provides new school uniforms and clothing to families in need.
Although there is some grant funding available through the council, many families don’t qualify yet still struggle.
Jan explained why the project was not about secondhand clothes.
“Brand new school uniforms are about more than just clothes. We believe every child in South Lanarkshire should experience that same pride, self-respect and dignity as their peers. We can accept brand new school uniforms of all ages and sizes, gift cards for clothing store or cash donations. And as the weather turns cold we are also sourcing brand winter clothes too.”
Donations can be made at The Gillespie Centre in Biggar or online on their Facebook page or by contacting WomanKIND on firstname.lastname@example.org
WomanKIND Clydesdale will also be at the Gaelic Open Day this Saturday, January 16 from 10am-4pm at Lanark Tolbooth.