Last year, I support the toy appeal of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees. One simple blog post led to an amazing success, I was inundated with presents for some of the most vulnerable children in Glasgow - so many that half of my office was taken up by the generosity of a handful of people who donated such quantities of toys and other useful items. I was truly moved by it all, even though I struggled to actually deal with the sheer quantity of donations.
At the time, it was one last chance I saw to contribute to a bit of a helping hand to the people I had been working with, in the knowledge that my new field of work would be very different. Not less rewarding, of course, just that I'd met such inspiring people when working with asylum seeking and refugee children and parents, and to put it simply, I really and truly enjoyed my work, even though at times the suffering that goes with the refugee experience cannot be left at work when you close the office door and go home.
You may have guessed it, it's this time of the year again and the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugee has launched this Festive Season's Toy Appeal. And yes, I'd like to ask my readers once again to open up their hearts to the children who've been through hell and back, having been persecuted in their home lands, who had to pack their lives into a bag they can carry in search of sanctuary, and maybe, just maybe, a new home. Nobody told them about the weather in Scotland I'm sure, or that they will be housed in Europe's highest high rises, that they will have to suffer abuse by those who fear that they are a threat to the little they have themselves.
I've been to houses of families where there was no more than one toy. If you've got to survive on 70% of income support (or less as is proposed) and you have to pay for regular trips for the whole family to Croydon to present your case from that little money, there simply is nought spare for toys.
So please, if you can, donate a new or nearly new toy or one of these items:
- educational and fun toys for younger children
- clothes for younger children
- goodie bags for babies (cream, shampoo, wipes etc)
- items for older kids, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, trendy clothes
- games toys and sport items for older kids
- hats, gloves, scarves, socks etc for young teenagers
- gift tokens for books / music shops (units of 5 quid are best)
There tends to be a shortage of gifts for teenagers, so these are particularly welcome.
If you want to do more:
- tell your friends, neighbours, family and colleagues
- circulate this message by email, on your blog, retweet on Twitter etc
- collect toys etc yourself
Now for the nitty gritty detail:
I'm based in Glasgow during the week and weekends in Clackmannanshire. My ability to collect is limited, but I do travel across Glasgow a lot from work so it may be possible. If you want to donate, it would help if you could drop donations off or send gift tokens (if you're not in Scotland, please make sure you send gift tokens for shops that exist in Glasgow - if in doubt, just ask). Please leave a comment with your email address or email me directly to arrange a suitable time and place, my email is blog at cartside dot co dot uk.
Please don't wrap presents for health and safety reasons. You can provide wrapping paper if you like.
Please donate only new or nearly new items.
If you want to contact the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees directly, their email address is glascamref at gmail.com