The Salvation Army in Dundee has thanked members of the public and local businesses for helping them provide support to vulnerable people over the Christmas period.
Despite having to adapt their normal festive activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, Majors Carole and Gordon Tucker, chaplains at the charity’s homeless shelters in the city, say they were able to support more people than ever this Christmas thanks to the community’s response.
Through the charity’s Christmas Present Appeal, they were able to give out gifts to 227 children. They also served up hot meals and food parcels.
Major Carole said: “We are so grateful for the support we receive every Christmas. This year we had to rethink our approach to make sure we didn’t miss anyone who needed our help – while at the same time keeping everyone safe.”
Normally residents at the charity’s two Dundee homeless shelters- Strathmore Lodge and Burnside Mill- would gather together for a meal on Christmas Day.
Instead, due to the pandemic, residents had their meals in their rooms, however, to make up for missing out on the shared Christmas festivities, Carol and Gordon, along with staff at the centres, paid a visit to each resident.
Morag McGrattan, the Salvation Army’s homelessness service manager in Dundee, said: “The amount of donations we received was amazing. Christmas has had to be very different in the centres with no communal Christmas meal and no meals for the public.
“However, thanks to our caterers Aramark, our chaplains and all our staff, we were able to give residents a wonderful day. Christmas meals were delivered to their doors and the chaplains did a socially distanced drop-in where they gave out coffee, goodies and had a chat.
“Every resident received a bag of gifts which included toiletries, hats, scarves, gloves, kettle, tea, coffee and sweet treats- all donated by the public and businesses.
“One local businessman donated coats, shoes, toiletries and sweets for all 45 residents of both centres – all of which were newly purchased from local stores – along with a substantial cash donation.
“These gifts mean so much to our residents, many of whom have no contact with family or friends during this time.”