Fife volunteers wanted to make a child’s Christmas special

Can you help to make sure hundreds of Fife youngsters get a gift at Christmas this year?

By Debbie Clarke
Thursday, 24th September 2020, 4:20 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 11:44 am
Volunteers are being sought to help make sure the Kingdom’s most vulnerable children have a gift on December 25. The volunteers pictured are from Lloyds Banking Group who have worked with the charity every year.
Volunteers are being sought to help make sure the Kingdom’s most vulnerable children have a gift on December 25. The volunteers pictured are from Lloyds Banking Group who have worked with the charity every year.

Volunteers are being sought to help make sure the Kingdom’s most vulnerable children are not left feeling disappointed on December 25.

The Gift of Christmas Appeal Fife, which is now in its fifth year, aims to ensure that every child has a present to open on Christmas Day but it needs the help of locals to make this happen.

Kate Hope, one of the parents who organises the annual event, said the charity is looking for as many helpers as possible this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Kate Hope, one of the parents who organises the annual event, said the charity is looking for as many helpers as possible this year.

She said: “We have around 65 drop off points across Fife and we receive a significant amount of donations every year, all of which need to be collected, checked, organised into age/gender groups, and labelled.

“We have a great deal of work which needs to be done in our warehouse every year, particularly during December.

“We require people who are hardworking, honest, efficient and who don’t mind being cold – because our warehouse is super cold!

“The more volunteers we have, the quicker the work gets done and the less stressful it is on those who organise and run the appeal every year, giving up their own Christmas each year due to the amount of work involved, which usually continues right up to Christmas Eve.”

Volunteers are being sought to help make sure the Kingdom’s most vulnerable children are not left feeling disappointed on December 25.

The volunteers will be given different tasks: “Some will be allocated one or more drop off points to look after, provide with posters, keep in touch with, collect donations from and bring to our warehouse,” Kate explained.

“Others will work only in our warehouse, sorting donations, checking to make sure donations are brand new, unopened, not broken, etc, organising donations into their appropriate age / gender groups, and putting together gift bags for the children and young people.

“We have many many boxes to be opened and squashed, and taken for recycling.

“We have lots of moving around of gift bags to be done, which can including some heavy lifting and pushing trolleys, when we organise the gift bags into different areas for each beneficiary agency to collect.”

The Gift of Christmas Appeal Fife is now in its fifth year.

Kate said every volunteer will need to complete an application form, attend an interview and provide two references and, ideally, they need to be available several times a week as the charity operates during weekdays, evenings and weekends.

She said it would also be helpful if volunteers can drive and have access to a vehicle.

Kate said sadly they are anticipating a busy year this year as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are expecting more applications than we usually receive, because of the financial implications on families in relation to Covid 19,” she continued.

“We are also expecting less donations than usual, although we hope this won’t be the case. We are worried people will be reluctant to visit drop off points and may have less money to spend on donating.”

She said they work with many local organisations and agencies: “We work with Nationwide Building Society, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Remax Estate Agents, Starbucks, Fife Auto Centre, Coop Foodstores, Spar Stores, Ceramic Tile Warehouse, McDonalds, Rejects Department Store and many many other fabulous drop off points across Fife.

"We now have over 30 beneficiary agencies, including Fife Council Social Work departments (Children & Families, Kinship, Family Support and Child Disability Teams), NHS Health Visitors, Fife Young Carers, Fife Carers Centre, Women's Aid, various schools and family centres, amongst others.”

But in terms of people dropping off gifts, she said everything will work as it normally does with safety measures in place.

Kate continued: “Ideally people will put together a bag of gifts for a child of a particular age group/gender in mind, label the bag accordingly and hand in to a drop off point.

“For example, a gift bag for a younger child might contain a larger toy, couple of smaller toys, a book, a pair of pyjamas, a selection box, some pens, a colouring book. A gift bag for a teenager might contain a set of headphones, a pair of socks, some toiletries, a book and a stocking filler.

“Each drop off point will have restrictions/safety measures in relation to social distancing. Our volunteers will be required to socially distance and to use handwash/face masks where required. They will also be offered gloves to wear when handling donations.

“We will have a slightly earlier cut of date for donations to be handed in this year to allow us the extra time required to undertake the work we need to undertake, while adhering to Covid restrictions.”

She added: “The drop off points will open on November 1.”

Gifts should NOT be wrapped up as all the donations need checking. If they are received wrapped, then unfortunately the volunteers will have to unwrap them. The Gift of Christmas Appeal Fife only accepts donations of brand new toys and gifts as the volunteers just don’t have the time to check second hand gifts to see if they are working, clean and not missing parts.

They also accept cash donations (which people wishing to make can find our more by emailing: [email protected]). Organisers are looking for donations particularly for the 9-12 years and 13-15 years age groups.

They also find the 1-2 year age group tricky to obtain enough gifts for.

To apply to become a volunteer email: [email protected] or visit the charity’s Facebook page. For more info visit: https://giftofchristmas.wixsite.com/appealfife

Thank you for reading this story on our website. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspapers - the Fife Free Press, Fife Herald, St Andrews Citizen and East Fife Mail.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. Thank you

Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press