Councillor Charlie Nicolson and a team of industrious volunteers collected hundreds of items in Stornoway this week, generously donated to the Christian charity Blythswood's annual Shoe Box Appeal. 

Each year people all over the UK are asked to provide a shoe box filled with household items such as toiletries, kitchen utensils, stationery, or small items of clothing or gifts - everyday items that most people don’t think twice about buying regularly, but which are considered luxuries to many living in poverty.  The boxes are then taken and distributed to people in some of the poorest areas of Eastern Europe and Asia. 

“You see people with lots of money sitting in a big house and they’re still not happy but when we send away these shoe boxes filled with everyday items... to them, it's like gold.” Councillor Nicolson said at the collection point yesterday, where the volunteers were busily sorting boxes by age and gender. These boxes were then packed and loaded onto pallets, ready for shipping. On Wednesday they will be sent to Romania so Christian books and calendars in Romanian have been placed in each one.

Each year Lewis and Harris donates anywhere between 1000 and 1800 boxes, collectively worth around £50,000.  Last year in total 121,474 boxes were sent to people living in poverty.  “It’s about helping quietly” Councillor Nicolson said, stating that volunteering makes people "feel like part of a family".

If you missed the Appeal deadline but would still like to make a contribution, you can donate to Blythswood via their website, by clicking here.  If you'd like to find out more about the Shoe Box Appeal and the real benefits it brings, you can watch a short video by Blythwood here.