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A truck loaded with 1,909 shoeboxes, each filled with warmth and cheer for families in poverty-stricken areas of Romania, will tonight (Tuesday November 20th) leave Stornoway bound for the mainland.
The Blythswood Shoebox appeal, celebrating 25 years of generous donations, has topped previous totals for Lewis, Harris and the Uists. Schools, churches and businesses have all organised local collections around the islands, gathered together in Stornoway over the past two weeks by a willing committee of volunteers.
This year’s co-ordinator, Dorothy Kennedy, said the total number of boxes collected in Lewis and Harris was once again higher than ever before. Each box has been filled with warm clothes, toiletries and useful home items, toys for children and sweets. Checked by the volunteers, they are sorted by age and gender of recipient and boxed up for despatch to the national Blythswood depot at Evanton, near Inverness.
Tonight a DR Macleod truck will board the outbound ferry, both the road transport and CalMac’s ferry ticket generously donated, to take the island collection on the first leg of its journey.
By the end of this week the collection will leave Evanton, bound for Romania and distribution to needy families in time for Christmas.
Dorothy said: “It’s been a tremendously successful appeal, so well supported - as it is every year. We would like to thank all the volunteers and all those who contributed towards the appeal, businesses, churches, schools and individuals. We know these boxes will be very much appreciated by those who receive them.
“We would also like to thank Captain Peter Marshall who approved the use of the Drill Hall for the shoebox sort this year and the caretaking staff at the Drill Hall, who were so welcoming and accommodating to all the volunteers.”
 
The pictures show boxes collected ready for delivery at Leverhulme Memorial School in Leverburgh, Sir E Scott school in Tarbert, the Lewis Christian School in Stornoway and the volunteers at the Drill Hall in Stornoway beginning the task of collecting boxes together earlier this month.