The New Beginnings charity has launched its appeal for new toys for Clydesdale youngsters and for festive food parcels for families who won’t otherwise have a Christmas dinner.
Depots in Carluke and Lanark will be receiving donations from December 1, and organisers are under no illusions about how much is needed.
“Last year we delivered Christmas toy sacks to 125 children,” said Mary McLellan, Convenor of New Beginnings, which was set up to help homeless people moving into accommodation.
“We also delivered 75 Christmas Food Hampers – Christmas dinners – to 75 families and last year, for the first time, we were surprised to receive 10 referrals for senior citizens who were struggling for a Christmas meal.”
Referrals are coming in now for this Christmas. The volunteers don’t know yet how many bags of toys and festive hampers they will need, but Mary believes the numbers will grow, especially as benefit changes take effect.
“We would like to see our applications slowing down and reducing, but the truth of the matter is that that is not happening and I think it is only going to get worse,” she said.
“It is the middle of November and already we have referrals for 45 children across 40 families.
“If it is shaping up that way now I don’t know where it is going to end.”
New Beginnings is appealing for new toys – “Santa doesn’t bring used toys,” emphasised Mary – books and drawing materials, and especially presents suitable for older children, teenagers aged 13 to 16.
Last year the charity also delivered little gifts to the parents of the children.
And for the festive meals they are looking for dinner with all the trimmings, and little luxuries.
Carluke TSB started the donations rolling this week with a gift of 50 selection boxes and a selection of toys,
“That is a local bank helping a local community group,” said Mary. “That was fantastic.”
From December 1 donations will be received, from 10am until noon, at the New Beginnings base in Wilton Road cemetery lodge, Carluke, at its furniture project at Hamilton Street, Carluke, and at the Bridge off St Leonard Street in Lanark (use the back entrance).
Cash too is very welcome: on the wwwnewbeginnings.org.uk website there is a My Donate link,
Deliveries should all be made by December 22, and volunteer drivers and their helpers are needed from December 8 (call 0755 4736015).