Emmaus Gloucestershire has launched a Christmas shoebox appeal and hopes to spread some festive cheer at its weekly soup run for rough sleepers.

The appeal is asking for the local community to get involved by donating shoeboxes that are wrapped, but not sealed, containing items such as toiletries, scarves, hats, socks, mince pies, chocolate, and sanitary products. The charity will also gratefully welcome donated items without a box.

Completed shoeboxes will be distributed every Wednesday evening in the run up to Christmas alongside the charity’s soup run in Gloucester city centre. Every week, staff, volunteers and those being supported by Emmaus distribute essential items such as clothing, toiletries, and sleeping bags and provide tea, coffee, juice, and hot and cold food to approximately 40 – 60 people.

The charity will still be providing practical essential items to rough sleepers, but hopes that the additional treats such as mince pies and chocolate will lift people’s spirits, as Chief Executive Joe Feeley, explains:

“Christmas can be a tough time for people on the streets, in hostels, or in temporary accommodation. We do our best to help people in situations like this all year round through our weekly soup run, and we will still be distributing items such as toiletries and clothing up until Christmas but we wanted to add a few little treats in the hope of lifting people’s spirits, even just for a minute or two.”

Shoeboxes and items can be dropped off at any Emmaus shop in Nailsworth, Stroud, Cheltenham, and Gloucester, Monday – Saturday during opening hours.

To find out the address of an Emmaus Gloucestershire shop, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/gloucestershire.