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Our charity shops encourage people to give the ‘Gift of Time’ this Christmas

“Giving your time is the most precious gift this Christmas”. This is the message being promoted by our charity shops all over the UK during the festive period as more help is needed to welcome shoppers and manage the increase in donations.

Our shops, superstores and donation centres are looking for help this Christmas, and all year round. So whether you can spare a few hours a day, or a few days a week, you will be able to visit your local charity shop and offer to volunteer on a short-term basis over the Christmas period and, if you wish, for longer too.

Christmas is a celebration for all, and for The Salvation Army it is one of the busiest times of the year. Throughout the year, The Salvation Army supports the most vulnerable in our society and, around Christmas and during the winter months, more services are established to help those in need, such as:

  • holding Christmas lunches for the lonely, older and vulnerable people at centres across the UK
  • looking after people who experience homelessness at one of the 67 Lifehouses, and providing drop-in winter shelters and emergency overnight accommodation
  • operating a Christmas present appeal for children living in poverty who would, otherwise, not experience the joy of receiving a special gift.

The work that volunteers do in our charity shops helps raise money which goes directly toward funding the vital work of The Salvation Army. Our charity shop volunteers support in a number of ways: assisting at the front of the shop (such as customer service on the shop floor and serving at the till), as well as sorting clothes and other donated items.

Pictured are Volunteers Ann Gilbertson and Jimmy Carr, our ‘elf on the shelf’.

Ann has volunteered at the Inverkeithing shop for 5 years and she is a Coordinator for her local church. Ann looks out for homeless people that she has befriended, and makes time to listen to them, and buys them clothes, food & toiletries.  Ann’s Manager Suzanne said, “Anne will say some of the stories she hears are heart breaking and she wishes she could help everyone; she is clearly such a caring, loving and selfless person.”

Ann commented, "I was brought up in a family where we were taught to give, not take. I am fortunate to be able to help."

Jimmy has been a Volunteer Driver for 3 years and this photo was taken recently on his 80th birthday. Here is what Jimmy’s manager, Pauline Braithwaite, said:

“Jimmy is an absolute star! Whenever he is in-store he’s a pleasure, always puts a smile on everyone’s face, even if that means dressing as an elf and entertaining kids all day. Jimmy is a total gentleman and will never watch anyone struggle. Not only does he volunteer here, he volunteers for his local church crèche and the Wirral Canels Association cleaning the canels through the summer months.”

We are grateful to have Ann and Jimmy’s support, and the support of all our volunteers. Without their hard work and dedication, we could not raise the millions of pounds in funds we do each year. This money goes towards The Salvation Army’s support services and helps others in the most need.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in volunteering, you can visit one of our charity shops, superstores or donation centres or contact them by telephone. You can find the nearest one to you on our website: http://salvationarmytrading.org/shops/finder