Glasgow students face off in annual drive to help the elderly this Christmas

Vulnerable elderly people in need of some festive cheer are being helped over the Christmas period thanks to the Santa Sacks Appeal.

The initiative, now in its second year and pioneered by members of Woodside Community Council, aims to gather and deliver bags of food and goodies to at least 100 local pensioners.

The council’s co-chair Jacqueline McKie, who is leading the effort, said it is important to ensure that senior members of society are engaged with during this significant period.

She said: “The appeal should not be seen as charity, but as recognition that elderly men and women are valued members of the community and not forgotten, particularly at a time of year which can be emotionally challenging for young and old alike.

“It is also a chance to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.”

The idea was borne out of Ms McKie’s research into the closure of a West End foodbank.

She said: “This generation don’t use foodbanks and have a proud and independent ‘make do and mend approach’ to life and often have to make the choice during harsh Scottish winters between eating and heating.”

She also expressed a concern that recent political issues have created a rift between age groups and hopes that the Santa Sacks Appeal will have a positive effect.

She said: “Due to the current divisive nature within local, national and international societies, this is an opportunity for young and old to engage and challenge preconceived, negative ideas about both demographics.”

As a way to maximise the impact of the drive, the participants – Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Glasgow – are being pitted against each other to see who can produce the most food donations.

Credit: Michael D Beckwith

GCU Students’ Association vice president Jodie Waite said: “GCU staff and students have been engaging really positively with the 100 Santa Sacks Appeal, and there has been a fantastic atmosphere on campus.

“Our motto at GCU Students’ Association is ‘Be Part of Something Bigger’, so it’s been brilliant getting students involved in something that benefits the wider community.”

The collection runs until December 1 with requests for donations of everyday food stuffs, Christmas treats and toiletries.


Photo: Else10, Flickr Creative Commons

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