RBS spreads Christmas cheer to thousands through shoebox appeal

Royal Bank of Scotland has partnered with hospitality provider BaxterStorey and security company G4S to distribute more than 10,000 shoeboxes full of toys, books, games, food and items of clothing for vulnerable people and families across Scotland.

RBS spreads Christmas cheer to thousands through shoebox appeal

The shoeboxes – which have been packed in a socially distant setting at the bank’s Gogarburn HQ in Edinburgh – are being given to charity partners Social Bite, Cyrenians, The Felix Project and Edinburgh Food Project, to distribute amongst thousands of individuals and families they support across the country.

Catering company BaxterStorey will also prepare and deliver an additional 100,000 cooked meals for vulnerable families in Scotland, thanks to generous donations of fresh produce from a number of the Royal Bank’s agricultural customers.

Other supporters of the project, which is part of the bank’s Winter Sparkle initiative. include the Scottish Book Trust, Tesco and Business in the Community, while employees and customers of the bank have been able to purchase items via a bespoke Amazon wish list.

The shoebox initiative is the latest project from the team behind the foodbank distribution centre at Gogarburn. It was set up in March by bank employee, Sheena Hales, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to offer charities a space to store large food deliveries. In October, Sheena was awarded a British Empire Medal in recognition of her efforts.

Since opening, the foodbank centre has distributed around 6,000 meals per week, taken in huge donations including 220,000 items of new clothing, and welcomed truckloads of potatoes and carrots – all to be issued by charities to those in need.

Along with donations of food and clothing, the foodbank has also helped furnish a homeless shelter in Glasgow and through a partnership with the Scottish Book Trust, has provided families with learning packs, storybooks and even tablets and Wi-Fi access to support with remote learning.

Sheena Hales, programme capability manager at Royal Bank of Scotland and manager of the Gogarburn distribution centre, said: “Christmas can always be a challenging time but the events and added pressures of 2020 have undoubtedly created extra stress and anxiety for many families.

“The foodbank has been committed to supporting those in need since the onset of the pandemic and while the food parcels will be essential, it’s also our hope that the little extra treats in the boxes will put a few smiles on faces this festive season.

“Crucially, this has been a team effort and none of it would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers or the generosity of our staff, customers and strategic partners who have worked tirelessly to make the foodbank what it is”

Caroline Bacigalupo, operations manager at BaxterStorey, said: “We are delighted to have been working with local community councils and local charities, supplying a variety of sweet treats and hearty meals. This Christmas, we plan to fill over 10,000 boxes for Christmas gifts and food packages to help those in need across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“With the ongoing support of our team at BaxterStorey, G4S and of course Royal Bank of Scotland, we will be out delivering the packages in the run-up to Christmas.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of the RBS Scotland Board, added: “The work that our foodbank team has delivered throughout 2020 has been truly admirable and the results achieved reflect the unwavering commitment of our staff, customers and partners, who have all gone above and beyond to support those in their local communities.

“Under Sheena’s leadership, the team have been working behind the scenes to coordinate, manage and store huge deliveries and have all been busy packing up the shoeboxes ready for distribution. Our charity partners will then take the wheel, allocating the boxes to the incredibly deserving individuals and families within their support networks.”

Share icon
Share this article: