Youngsters become secret Santas to senior citizens

Campbeltown Courier opinion.

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A group of youngsters has shown true Christmas spirit by organising to have festive hampers delivered to some of Campbeltown’s elderly residents.

Carla Cameron-Smith, Casey McKenzie, Kiera Gillies and Caitlin Collett came up with the idea to help brighten Christmas for the town’s senior citizens during a leadership class at Campbeltown Grammar School.

They approached Mandy Robertson, development worker at youth support group The Hub, and Nona Ruesgen, manager at Kintyre Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service (KADAS), who both teach lifestyle and personal safety classes at the school, to help organise and promote their hamper plan.

Mandy told the Courier: ‘The girls know it’s been a hard year for everybody, but especially for older people who have been isolating.

‘We asked for donations of treats like hot drink sachets, sweets, biscuits and chocolate, puzzles and books to keep them amused, and things to keep them warm like hats, scarves, gloves and socks. We’ve even had donations of knitted hats and shawls too.’

Collection boxes for donated items are available in The Original Factory Shop (TOFS) and the Coop supermarket, and there is still time to donate as they will remain in place until the end of today (Friday).

Staff at TOFS said their box was overflowing with donations within days and Mandy explained that people had been similarly kind-hearted at the Co-op.

‘People have been really generous,’ she said. ‘People were leaving binbags beside the box at the Co-op because it was full. The generosity has been overwhelming. What little some people have, they’re still willing to give to others.’

All donated items will be left to sit for a few days after collection to minimise any risk of Covid transmission, before being sorted at The Hub and delivered to residents next week, following all government guidelines.

Mandy added: ‘We would like to thank everybody who has donated and also the Factory Shop and Co-op for allowing the boxes to go in there.

‘I think that’s one thing that this year has shown, how much folk in the community pull together and help everybody else.’