Delivery day brings the true spirit of Christmas to over 1000 Fife children
As I stood and looked out over a sea of black sacks and green crates it was hard to believe the scale of poverty in Kirkcaldy this Christmas.
Each one of these 1071 black sacks represented a child who, without the generosity of the people of the town and local shops, businesses, schools, churches and organisations, faced waking up on Christmas morning to no presents.
As Pauline Buchan, service manager of the Cottage Family Centre, which had mounted the massive festive appeal just six weeks previously, said: “It is horrendous that in 2018, in a developed country like Scotland, that so many families are still facing such crippling poverty, brought on in large part by the introduction of Universal Credit.
Families who, even where one or sometimes both parents are employed, are still struggling to pay their bills and put food on their tables.
What would they have done without the help of the Cottage, its dedicated staff and volunteers and the thousands of donations which poured through the doors?
As we set off on our first deliveries of the day to families in the Templehall area, a huge convoy of vans, trucks and cars snaked around the two industrial units at Hayfield.
It would take this massive military operation until late afternoon to deliver to all the families referred by social workers, health visitors and other organisations.
It was with a bit of apprehension that we approached the first door to make our delivery of toys and enough food to last the family 10 days over the festive period.
But the minute the door opened and we saw the huge smiles of gratitude – mixed with relief – on the faces of the family members, the true meaning of Christmas and caring for others became all too evident, and that was to be repeated at every home we visited throughout the day.
People just couldn’t comprehend the huge generosity of spirit displayed by others to their predicament.
For some there was a sick family member unable to work, a child with disabilities, or families just going through a bad patch, but every one was very grateful for the help being offered to them.
As one woman said: “Without this help my kids wouldn’t have had any Christmas at all. You are all angels.”