Leamington charity overwhelmed by community's support with shoebox appeal

A charity that helps the vulnerable and homeless in the Warwick District have been overwhelmed by the public's support in their Christmas shoebox appeal.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 9:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 2:16 pm
Lianne Kirkham and Staff at the 'Helping Hands' charity shop, held a shoe box appeal for the homeless. Pictured: Mark Jones, Lianne Kirkham and Arin Hartwell. NNL-171024-235445009

Helping Hands, which is based in Leamington, works with vulnerable and homeless people in the district by providing much-needed help.

In October the charity launched their annual shoebox appeal, where members of the public fill shoeboxes with useful items.

Lianne Kirkman, manager at Helping hands said: “We believe we received over 1,000 boxes in total, which is unbelievable. They came from Kenilworth, Warwick, Kineton, Stratford, Leamington and other surrounding villages.

“We also had nearly 1,000 children’s toys donated so again, such a huge response.

“The amount we have received has meant we have been able to be generous with how many toys we give out this year. We have been able to fill big santa sacks full of gifts, toys and chocolates/sweets to give out to local children in need.

“It has been overwhelming to see the way the community have responded. We’ve had individuals, local businesses, churches, schools, nursing homes, other local organisations such as guides, rainbows and community centres all give to this appeal.

“We even drove to the Genting Arena in Birmingham where the Forever Living company who had been collecting for us nationwide gave us hundreds of boxes.

“We’ve had individuals such as Harold Godfrey who gathered 40 boxes himself with the help of his local pub, the Hodcarrier in Whitnash, Jack Evans aged 10, also from Whitnash, who created 21 boxes.

“We also heard of one family, who recently lost their dad in a car crash and the children wanted to create a box to give to an equally ‘brave’ man.

“They made up several boxes for us to pass on to homeless people we support through our charity.

“It’s been very heartwarming and we’ve shed a few tears reading some of the cards and letters and seeing the time, money, thought and effort that has gone into each has been extremely humbling.

“We’ve been able to distribute so many gifts to local families we have supported throughout the year, local children’s services, local women’s refuge centres, mother and baby units, hostels, other homeless charities and supported housing.

“Because we received so many we have also been able to give some of the gift boxes to local older people’s homes with the support of the Leamington Round Table.

“We can’t thank the local community enough for their response to our appeal and we’ve already started to receive letters of thanks and messages of how grateful people are who are receiving them.

“We know some of these boxes will be the only gift some people receive this Christmas so on behalf of everyone at Helping Hands, thank you to everyone who has contributed towards making Christmas that little bit more special for local people in need.”