School children in Moldova were delighted to received last year

Celebrating 50 years of Blythswood Care, and 31 years of the charity's annual Shoebox Appeal, islanders are urged to help get the two millionth shoebox collected in this anniversary year.

“The Western Isles have always given great support and enthusiasm for the Shoebox Appeal,” said Chris Martin, Shoebox Co-ordinator Lewis and Harris. “Last year the islands sent about 1,500 boxes.”

In total 2015 saw Blythswood Care collected 116,576 Shoeboxes during the winter appeal; and distributed the Christmas care packages in Albania; Bulgaria; Hungary; Kosovo; Moldova; Pakistan; Romania; Serbia, and Ukraine.

“All the boxes are carefully filled with many good quality items, which are all greatly appreciated by the families and children that receive them,” said Chris. “Some small things we see as basic to us are like a luxury item to the people in need who receive them.”

This year Blythswood Care urges local communities, schools, churches, organisations and individuals to take this opportunity to help those who have little by donating a Shoebox filled with a mixture of toiletries, clothes, stationary, and children's toys.

A full list of what can be given in a Shoebox can be collected at the Blythswood Shop on Kenneth Street, Stornoway; or online at www.shoeboxappeal.org

Highlighted items required this year however include toothbrushes and toothpastes; hats, scarves and gloves; small children's toys, and sweets (no chocolate or any other food, no loose sweets, lollies or undated sweet bags), with a 'Best Before' date of March 2017.

The Drop-Off point for Shoeboxes is at the back entrance of the old 'Co-op' building in Stornoway, on Kenneth Street, opposite Lodge Fortrose (Masonic Hall); and collections will take place on Thursday, November 3rd from 3pm to 6pm; Friday, November 4th, 3pm to 7pm; and on Saturday, November 5th, from 10am to 12-noon.

“Anyone who would like to help at the collection point is very welcome, at any time and for as long or a short a time as they can manage,” added Chris.

For further information, contact Chris Martin on 01851 708105 (day), 01851 706143 (evening); or Charlie Nicolson on 01851 703325.