Norwich church volunteer inspired by kindness
A woman who has volunteered for The Salvation Army’s Toys and Tins Appeal since 2016 said she will carry on doing so for as long as possible.
Whitney Bullard’s best friend and her 5-month-old son found themselves living in a hostel in May 2015 after her relationship broke down. When Whitney dropped in for a regular visit in December 2015, there was a knock at the door and her friend was given a food parcel and a toy bag for her son thanks to the appeal.
For more than 30 years, Toys and Tins has transformed Christmas for vulnerable families across Norfolk. Members of the public donate gifts and food for children and families which are packed and distributed to those in need by Salvation Army volunteers.
Whitney said the parcels were completely unexpected.
Whitney said, “My friend was overwhelmed with the kindness of others and she didn’t realise charity was there to help. She didn’t know who to turn to and it was her little boy’s first proper Christmas. It really gave her a big lift. I thought what a lovely gesture that was.”
When Whitney, who lives in Norwich, started working at the Yorkshire Building Society the following year, she took part in a volunteering scheme where staff had a certain amount of hours each year they could use to help local charities.
She explained: “I thought someone somewhere has to pack those food parcels and I bet they do thousands, so I got in contact with The Salvation Army straight away and I have helped every Christmas from December 2016. My best friend still has the Christmas card that came in the food package.”
Whitney said she really enjoys volunteering for the appeal every year.
She added: “Every member of the Salvation Army are just superb and they have the biggest hearts, they are all so welcoming and friendly and so appreciative of any help. I love knowing that I’m helping in a small way and it’s great to think we are putting a smile on people’s faces and lifting their spirits at a difficult time.
“It’s uplifting and nice to be a small part of a team of such lovely people. They rely on volunteers to help because there is so much to do. It’s nice to give back and help take the pressure off.”
This year, the toys and tins appeal raised over £5000 and delivered hundreds of parcels to local people.
Pictured above: Whitney packing boxes for the Toys and Tins appeal