The Blythswood Care Shoe Box Appeal sorting centre is at Craigmillar Park Church, Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh. Last year, we condensed the work into about 7 working days, during which we sorted 7,643 boxes; the effort made by all the helpers was fantastic and I thank everyone who took part.
Just to remind you, the process is like this: we receive the boxes in, usually in large black bags, from the collecting lorries in deliveries of about 1200 shoe boxes. Then we open up each shoe box, empty out the contents, check the box and contents for prohibited items (and for any possible contraband), check for and remove any money included to cover shipping, repack the contents into the box, add missing staples such as toothpaste, add a Christian booklet or calendar in the language of the receiving country, tape up the box and pack it into an outer carton. The outer cartons, by now quite heavy, we move to a storage area; then, when the collecting lorry arrives, we manhandle the cartons onto pallets (on the hydraulic tail-lift) and the pallets into the lorry; each shipment is about 180 cartons on 10 pallets. The sorting work is necessary so that the shipments pass unobstructed across international borders. Customs offices in each country will accept the lorries unchecked only if Blythswood Care can state that every box has been examined by its volunteer staff.
As you might realise from the description the work is labour intensive: it’s not difficult, it’s not hard work, it’s not even dull, in fact it’s good fun, it’s social and it’s very rewarding. But to be manageable it needs lots of volunteers each doing a 3-hour shift; the light work of checking shoeboxes can be done by anyone and we have 6th-year school pupils, students, pensioners and even some disabled all helping. Lifting and moving the outer cartons is heavier work, best suited to those of a more physical disposition; usually men, but not always … so, if you would like to help between 6th and 17th November, 9.30-12.30 and 1.00-4.00, then please contact:
Tel: 07766-888 644