Christmas shoeboxes help homeless this Christmas

A Christmas shoebox appeal has seen more than 100 boxes delivered to South Somerset District Council (SSDC) for those who will be homeless in South Somerset this Christmas.

Debbie Walls from Yeovil organised a Christmas shoebox appeal, arranging collection points at Co-Op (St Michaels Avenue, Yeovil), Mudford Stores, Lock Stock Barbers (South Petherton), Perfections Hair Salon (Yeovil), Class 4 MOT (Yeovil), Inked Tattoo (Sherborne), The Menders (Crewkerne) and Battens Solicitors (Yeovil).

The shoeboxes will be given to all the residents at Pathways homeless hostel and to the people SSDC have accepted as homeless that are in temporary accommodation. Any rough sleepers in South Somerset and people on the emergency beds at Pathways will all receive a Christmas parcel.

In addition to donating goods, Battens Solicitors used £200 from their Charity Trust to purchase useful items such as clothes and bedding.

Sophie Paterson from Adecco Recruitment in Yeovil also organised a collection and delivered a large amount of shoeboxes packed full of goodies to SSDC. Sophie said "Through work we have contact with a lot of local businesses and they were incredibly generous in making donations to people who are not as lucky as we are, especially this time of year."

Speaking about the shoebox appeal, Debbie Walls said " I was saddened to learn how many people were homeless, in temporary accommodation and in need in South Somerset, I volunteered to be the co-ordinator of the shoebox appeal in this area after learning how successful it was in another district. You don't know what the back stories are and history is of people who end up homeless but in some weather I don't even want to walk to the shops yet some people are out in it all the time, I am glad to help in this way.

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council said, "It is a tragedy that we have people on our streets who need help and never more so than on the run up to Christmas and when temperatures drop.  The Council and our partners can only do so much and it is so heart-warming to see how the people of South Somerset have reacted to this appeal.  In this instance, volunteers and those who have given so freely have stepped forward to make Christmas mean something to those with little or nothing to celebrate.  Just knowing that someone is not only thinking about you but is expressing that concern in such a positive way must make a sense of hopelessness just that bit more tolerable."

All packages will now be delivered this week in the run up to Christmas by SSDC's Housing Options Team.

Shoebox 1

Above: Debbie Walls from Yeovil delivering Christmas shoebox parcels to South Somerset District Council's Housing Options Team.

Shoebox 2

Above: Sophie Patterson of Adecco Recruitment (Yeovil), delivering Christmas shoebox parcels to South Somerset District Council's Housing Options Team