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Blythswood shoe box appeal sends 89,000 gifts to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries

By John Davidson

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Lorry loads of gifts were sent to Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe thanks to generous donations to a Highland charity, including from people across Caithness.

Almost 89,000 boxes were filled with essential items and extra gifts as part of Blythswood Care's 2022 Shoe Box Appeal.

Schools, businesses, groups and individuals in the far north were among the thousands who contributed to the appeal, and Blythswood, which is based at Evanton in Ross-shire, says donations came in from Shetland to Cornwall and from Northern Ireland to Kent.

Vlada (9) is excited to unwrap her gift box.
Vlada (9) is excited to unwrap her gift box.

The boxes are filled with small, practical items such as toiletries, stationery, and clothing, and the individually-wrapped boxes have been distributed in schools, hospitals, orphanages and care homes, and to households in very low income communities. Many have gone to people affected by the war in Ukraine, the Christian charity said.

“This year we were especially encouraged by the response of supporters within Scotland,” said Blythswood’s head of projects, Finlay Mackenzie. “Overall we were seven per cent up on last year. The extra boxes allowed us to send three lorry-loads instead of two to Ukraine, around 16,000 boxes.

“Our co-workers there are trying to help people in incredibly difficult circumstances, displaced from their homes and separated from husbands and fathers by war.

Ilia (7), in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine, is delighted with the parcel.
Ilia (7), in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine, is delighted with the parcel.

“We have also sent boxes to Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania and Serbia.

“At a time when everyone is concerned with rising household bills at home, it was a terrific response to our appeal. We are so grateful to everyone who filled a box and to our volunteers around the UK who assisted with collection and checking.”

Last year's appeal was the 30th year of Blythswood’s Shoe Box Appeal, bringing the total of gift boxes delivered in that time to 2.65 million.

Blythswood Care is a Christian charity, with a mission to transform lives through the impact of education, community action and gospel activities. The Shoebox Appeal started in 1993.

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