Christmas wishlist needs Santa’s helpers

Jeanette Sheldrick and Morvern Finlayson at Oban Salvation Army receiving donated presents for this year's appeal.

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Oban’s Salvation Army hopes its Christmas wishlist will bring sackfuls of presents for some of the area’s neediest children and most vulnerable adults.

Organisers of this year’s Christmas Present Appeal want more people than ever to be Santa this year as the numbers of youngsters and adults needing  festive cheer are on the up.

When Morvern Finlayson got involved in the appeal 11 years ago, there were just 71 children on the list; last year there were 210, from babies to teenagers, plus 87 adults.

The appeal also covers the Lochgilphead area and donations of new and unwrapped gifts can be handed in from now until Friday December 20.

In Oban, the drop-off  is at the Nationwide on George Street, while the Lochgilphead point is the Bank of Scotland in Poltalloch Street.

Organisers work with social workers, child workers and community-based care companies to make sure those who would benefit from the appeal get a gift to open on December 25.

‘We could not do this without the support and generosity of the community who give us gifts so thank you to everyone who helps make it possible,’ said Morvern.

On this year’s wishlist are toys and activities suitable for babies right up to 18-year-olds, toiletries for teenage girls and boys, hats, gloves, scarves, make-up sets, books, colouring sets and education materials, including pencils, pens and paper.

For older people, puzzle books are popular, as are notebooks, soap sets, socks, biscuits, sweets and other goodies.

Family games are also high up on the list, said Morvern.

Everything needs to be new and unwrapped. Gifts for older people are made up into a decorated gift box, thanks to one volunteer who saves and covers shoe boxes specially for this time of year.

Gifts for the children are handed to key workers with wrapping paper so the parents or guardians can see what the children are getting and have the joy of wrapping it themselves.

‘We send a card with the gifts just saying “with love and best wishes”,’ added Morvern.