Christmas – a time for giving, not just receiving

Captains Philip & Carrie James with selection of toys donated for their Christmas Appeal
Captains Philip & Carrie James with selection of toys donated for their Christmas Appeal

Salvation Army once again opening its doors during the festive season

As you prepare to spend the Christmas period with friends and loved ones, giving and receiving gifts, spare a thought for those who may be facing the festive season alone.

It may be through the death of a partner or close friend, through homelessness, or just because families are facing increased demands on their time – but not everyone will looking forward to it.

That’s why the Salvation Army in Kirkcaldy is once again opening its doors to anyone who wants some company on Christmas day, with the chance for a hot meal and a blether with others in a similar situation.

Captains Carrie and Philip James took charge of the Kirkcaldy corps of the Salvation Army around 2½ years ago, and did not open the first Christmas in Kirkcaldy as they were still settling in to their new jobs.

However last year around 26 people came along for Christmas dinner at the halls off Hill Street, and they are preparing for more this time round.

“People are finding things increasingly difficult financially,” said Carrie (49).

“We know that from the huge rise in the number of food parcels we have been giving out recently, so we think our numbers for Christmas Day will be up on last year.

“It is open to anyone who wants to come along, and we always get plenty of volunteers from our own congregations and members of the public just wanting to come along and give a hand on the day.”

Philip added: “We always get plenty of charities willing to help with donations of food or money and last year we had a very generous donation from Exxon at Mossmorran who gave us enough to cover the complete cost of
the food.

“People tend to be very generous both with their time and with donations of food and gifts.”

The Salvation Army hall will be open from around 1.00 p.m. and will follow on from the Christmas Day service which takes place at 11.00 a.m.

“What we did last year was asked volunteers to come along about noon to help get things ready and we set up tables around the hall then put on a Christmas film for people to watch and held the dinner about 1.30 p.m.

“That meant that our volunteers and ourselves had some time to spend with our families later in the day,” explained Carrie.

“On the day it is very relaxed and we just take it as it comes, but we do ask people who are intending on coming along to let us know in advance to we can make sure we know how many people we are catering for.”

Plea for toy donations

The Salvation Army is also looking for donations of new toys which will be distributed to needy families in the Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth area.

Toys must be brand new so they can be given to children at Christmas time, although any donations of nearly new goods can be passed on to the Salvation Army shop in the Mercat Shopping Centre.

The toys will be distributed through Fife’s social work department as well as charities including Women’s Aid and Gingerbread.

“Each year demand is getting higher as people are finding it harder to make ends meet, so we are extremely grateful for anything people can give us,” said Carrie.

“Our congregation members are extremely generous and people have been handing in donations of toys and non perishable foods for our food parcels since the beginning of November.”