Category Archives: Shoebox Appeal

New Co-ordinator Wanted!

Dear Friends

At the end of March this year I resigned as the co-ordinator for Craigmillar Park Church on behalf of the Blythswood Care Shoebox Appeal. To take this decision has been in my mind for quite some time and, more urgently, since the end of last year’s Appeal, and it had to be made in sufficient time for Blythswood to make new arrangements for 2018. I had already told our own session clerk of my intention to step down from the role as, strictly speaking, the relationship is not with me personally but between the organisations of Craigmillar Park Church and Blythswood Care.

I have been managing our church’s contribution to the Shoebox Appeal for 10 years. In that time the number of shoeboxes sorted has increased by around 50%; at the same time we have run fewer shifts with more helpers and trebled the throughput per hour. To achieve this has needed a substantial amount of organisation, starting in early September and finishing in January; sadly, the planning workload has become a burden and the effort during the sorting is a physical strain. Therefore I think that this is the right time to stop and I hope that someone will come forward to take over from me, either from one of the local congregations or from among our many volunteers.

I said after last year’s Appeal: “The problems of ageing congregations within the Church of Scotland and other churches are well known and they affect our handling of the Shoebox Appeal: many of our own CPC members are no longer fit and able to help; and there are too few younger members to replace them. I am in the middle, being both retired and active, but I am also 10 years older than when I started; and without the vital input from similar others I could not have managed the sorting centre. Even then, only the presence of the younger corporate crews has let us achieve the numbers processed in recent years.”

I have discussed our options with Blythswood and others in recent months because, for the same reasons already given, we need to find new volunteers to take over the organising throughout the year and especially during the two or three weeks when our Church and Hall are given over to the Appeal.

In signing off let me thank you all for the excellent work and support which you have given me over the years; it’s been fun, but I couldn’t have done it without you.

Norman Weibye

Thank you!

The shoe box sort is in itself a major undertaking. It takes around 1,000 working hours just to sort 7,500 shoe boxes plus time for packing, receiving, collecting, driving and a variety of other tasks; meaning that we need about 30 volunteers per shift. On average each volunteer does 5 shifts; in reality some can only manage one, a few do many more and a tiny handful work the whole appeal.

My thanks go out to all those who have helped this year; special mention goes to our sister congregations in Newington and the South Side, including the group from Mayfield Salisbury church, led by Anne Sturrock, who gave us well over 200 perfectly wrapped shoeboxes of the right size; more special mention goes to the corporate teams from Royal Bank of Scotland, Registers of Scotland, Lexis Nexis and (ex) DWP Scotland.  RBS contributed more than 60 individuals across 4 days; RoS, celebrating their 400th Anniversary, gave us 20; Lexis Nexis law publishers have supported us for many years, albeit with a smaller team this year and Department of Work & Pensions members now come in their own time as DWP have stopped giving them corporate community time for us.  Our scout troop (85th Braids) gave up their evening meeting to to carry and re-stock and the Soroptimists sorted a massive amount of “fillers” to make sense of the boxes of bulk items. There were as many again individuals who came and went as their time allowed, some for a shift every day, some for most whole days.

Thanks also to the heavy duty crew of Susan & Mark loading the cartons, Chris, Mac, Gerald & Martin in the van, and Lorne all did similar heavy work loading & unloading the vans and handling the boxes, bags and cartons at the front door. Put all these people together and we have a very effective operation producing, this year, an average of 1,250 shoeboxes per day; this peaked at over 1,500 but fell back as we ran out of shoeboxes on a couple of occasions. (Tuesday morning was really just finishing off Monday’s remainders; we also spent time wrapping empty boxes and using them to split the very large boxes which were left until the end.)

So, thank you all again for your hard work and dedication to help make someone, far away,  happy this Christmas.

The date for 2018 will be starting either 5th November or 12th November, subject to a discussion with Blythswood; check this website for updates during the year.

Norman Weibye
Sorting Centre co-ordinator
15th November 2017.


Finished sorting by 12.30pm today, provisional total: 7,286. I shall post more information this evening, but no more work now for the rest of the week.

from Norman, 14th November, 1pm.