Christmas starts early for gift appeal

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Oban’s Salvation Army needs more donations to its Christmas Appeal than every before.

Covid hardship has taken its toll on many in the community, says Morvern Finlayson who got involved in the appeal 12 years ago.

Because of the virus and the need to stick to Covid restrictions when handling people’s kind donations, the annual appeal has started earlier than usual.

The number of needy children, elderly and most vulnerable adults in the area who are on the list to receive festive cheer from the 2020 appeal has also increased significantly because of the pandemic, says Morvern.

Donations of new and unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Hall in Stevenson Street on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am until 2.30pm.

Nationwide on George Street has also agreed to be a drop-off point again. Masks must be worn, unless exempt, and social distancing respected, reminds Morvern. The last day for donations is Friday November 27.

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

‘The wonderful people of Oban are generous every year without fail and we are confident this year, despite Covid, will be no different. We could not do this without them.

‘Whether it is through furlough struggles, job losses or illness we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of those needing our help this year, numbers driven up because of Covid. Poverty is here in Oban, without this appeal there are children who would have nothing to open on Christmas morning,’ said Morvern.

Gifts for teenage girls and boys are very much in demand this year as well as toys, hats, gloves, socks, chocolates, puzzle books and notebooks, toiletry sets for other age groups – a popular request high up on the wishlist is family games.

The donations are bundled into age appropriate bundles by volunteers before being passed on to agencies working in the community such as social services and Carr Gomm. Donations of wrapping paper are also needed so parents and care workers can wrap the gifts themselves.

Last year about 280 children received gifts from the appeal and about 275 vulnerable and elderly, said Morvern.

‘We have many more on our list year. Please help,’ added Morvern.