staff at a centre which helps vulnerable families with young children in Kirkcaldy have been “absolutely astounded” at the response to an appeal for help this Christmas.
Thousands of pounds in cash, as well as donations of food, clothing and gifts have been pouring in to the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy’s Templehall following an appeal in the Press just two weeks ago.
And the public’s generosity to the plea for help means that the charity will be able to help well over 100 families in dire straits over the festive season, helping to provide nutritious meals, warm clothing and a few presents for the children to open on Christmas morning.
“I just can’t believe how generous people have been, whether through the town’s supermarkets, local shops, businesses and individual acts of kindness, it has been very emotional and I can’t thank everyone enough,” said Pauline Buchan, service co-ordinator at the Cottage.
“This year people in Kirkcaldy, like everywhere, are finding it even harder to make ends meet, and rising unemployment, rising food and heating costs and the overall economic climate means we are having to step in to help even more vulnerable families this year.
“The donations we have received mean that we will be able to help well over 100 families, and over 300 children in these families and ensure they will have a proper Christmas dinner, a few parcels and warm clothes to wear. It’s not a lot, but it is more than they would otherwise have.”
The Cottage Centre staff now face the mammoth task of sorting out all of the food and making it into hampers for each family to last them around a week to 10 days, with each including a chicken, potatoes and veg for Christmas Day, cereal and non perishable tinned goods as well as staples such as bread and milk.
They also have to sort out the huge piles of children’s clothing into sizes for each family, with each child receiving underwear, pyjamas and warm clothing such as scarves and gloves.
“It’s a bit like a military operation all the sorting out, and we are going to be working lots of late nights this week to get everything sorted out,” said Pauline.
“I must thank all my staff who are absolutely fantastic and put up with so much.”
Sainsbury’s has donated five trolleys full of new toys, books and games as well as cash to the festive appeal.
Pupils from Balwearie High School held two non-uniform days, donating £600 to the appeal, and the Kirkcaldy Rotary Club gave a donation towards the toys.
Tesco donated a huge amount of food for the hampers, and Primark in Dunfermline also supported the appeal. The Forth One radio station donated toys and the health service union Unison in Fife gave £750.
Other supporters have included the Clearwater Group, Busy Bees Nursery, Boots at the Fife Central retail park, Bayne’s the bakers in Templehall, McDonalds and Fife Police.
Templehall Gym, Tullis Russell and Exxon, and Hepburn’s the butchers and Ivan Wood and Sons gave the centre discounts on food for the hampers.
The Singing Kettle donated CDs and DVDs, and also treated a group of three to five year-olds to one of its shows in Glenrothes, and Dallas Drive Tenants and Residents Association donated books.
“As soon as the appeal appeared in the Press people were coming along with stuff for us, and I would like to say a huge thank you to every single person who has contributed,” said Pauline.
“It is sad that we have to do this, and that things this year are even worse than they were last year, but the generosity of everyone is heartwarming.”