Festive appeal more vital than ever before

Staff at the Cottage Centre take delivery of toys and food from Tesco last year
Staff at the Cottage Centre take delivery of toys and food from Tesco last year
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Cottage Centre launches 2013 campaign

A huge, heartfelt appeal is being made to people in Kirkcaldy to dig deep to help some of the town’s most vulnerable families this Christmas.

Every year the Cottage Family Centre in Templehall organises a Christmas appeal, making up life-saving packs of food, clothing and toys to help make the festive season bearable for those in most dire need.

And this year the centre’s head, Pauline Buchan, is predicting “the worst year yet” as the cost of food and domestic fuel continues to spiral.

“I am actually dreading this year because I know, from the huge numbers of people needing to use our food bank, that this year is going to surpass all others in the number of people needing help just to survive.

“Things have been getting steadily worse for the most vulnerable families for the past few years and now, with the benefits changes and the increasing cost of food and gas and electricity, some families are having to make the choice between eating and keeping their homes warm. Parents are going hungry so their children can eat and even families who were getting by before are now struggling to keep their heads above water.”

Pauline and her dedicated staff helped the families of over 300 children last Christmas and this year she says that she is expecting “many more” to ask for help.

“All our families are referred to us through health visitors, social work and housing, and it is all done on a priority basis, so I know we are helping those in most need,” she explained.

“Last year I was horrified when we were giving out packages to some families, to be told ‘thanks, but we don’t have a cooker to cook them on!’ We ended up having to buy seven cookers for families.”

This year, she says, that although donations of new clothing and toys will be welcome, the appeal will be concentrating on food.

Any donations of tinned or non-perishable food can be handed in at the Cottage Centre or via the Tesco food bank station. Clothing and toys, suitable for children up to 16 years, would also be welcome.

“Anything anyone can give would be most gratefully received and will help brighten Christmas for families around Kirkcaldy,” added Pauline. “I hate having to say no to anyone in dire need, so the more we can collect the better.”

Suggested donations

Food: Anything non-perishable from breakfast cereal, tinned food, teabags, coffee, toilet roll, pasta, rice, jars of sauce, jam, sugar etc.

Clothing: Underwear, pyjamas, socks, gloves, hats, scarves.

Toiletries

Toys: Lego, books, jigsaw puzzles, board games, soft toys

Any monetary donations would also be welcome and will be used to help vulnerable families with gas and electricity costs over the festive period or to meet emergency expenses.