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Light House Turriff puts gifts under the tree

By Kirsty Brown

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A Turriff youth group collected and distributed 124 shoeboxes filled with gifts to people living in and around Turriff in an act of seasonal goodwill.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that Light House Youth Club has not been able to meet this year, and many current members are unlikely to return when they reopen due to having moved on from school.

Missing the group, it was decided to find a way to do something which would get current and new members involved, and amidst the pandemic finding a way to serve people in the local community was a popular choice.

With the youth club space sitting unused, the group decided to fill shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for the elderly and vulnerable people of any age, using the club space to co-ordinate and store the shoeboxes.

They started reaching out for donations of items to put in the boxes, which included toiletries, perfume, games, sweets, hats, scarves, gloves, and books.

Filling shoe boxes ready for distribution.
Filling shoe boxes ready for distribution.

Local businesses helped to bring this project to life by displaying posters, sharing social media posts, creating donation collection points and organising collections amongst staff teams.

Members of the public also enthusiatically backed the project, with somebody opening a collection point in their garden and one teen donating handmade face masks for the boxes.

Pupils at Turriff Primary School got involved by making cards to put in the boxes alongside the gifts.

The group are grateful for the generosity, kindness, support and encouragement which they experienced from the people of Turriff and the surrounding villages.

This community spirit is the reason that 124 people were greeted with a gift box under the tree on Christmas day, with the boxes passed on to Citizen's Advice, Aberdeenshire Council, Abbeyfield House, sheltered housing facilities in Turriff and Cuminestown and Sunnybrae (Teen Challenge) amongst others.

A Light House spokesperson said: "It was the unity in the community that helped us put a Christmas gift box under a person's Christmas tree this year, we couldn't have done one box without the help of people in the community.

"We did this together!

"Our main aim was to bring joy and help make people feel important, loved and known.

"We are in a strange time where loved ones can't be with each other, sometimes this time of the year is the only time people will connect with others and that can't happen this year.

"We may be a youth club but being closed we are sitting doing nothing and we are wanting to get out there, working with the community to help and support anyway we can."

Shoeboxes being handed out ready for Christmas morning.
Shoeboxes being handed out ready for Christmas morning.

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