Volunteers running two free shops appeal for donations for van service

The not-for-profit organisation helps furnish empty flats for homeless people and operates a weekly soup kitchen.

Volunteers running two free shops appeal for donations for van service across Glasgow LDRS

Volunteers who help homeless people and run two free community shops are appealing for funding support to help them buy their own van.

From a building in Royston H4TH (Help for the Homeless) supplies clothes, food, kitchen equipment, toiletries and other essentials to those in need. They also have a base in Clydebank.

The not for profit organisation additionally helps furnish empty flats for homeless people and operates a weekly soup kitchen.

During a visit to the James Nisbit Street shop on Tuesday, the H4TH site was teeming with people browsing and filling baskets with food, clothes, and toys among other items. The facility had just taken delivery of dozens of trainers left over from a film set.

Explaining the difference the donations can make, founder Mel Whitley said: “You’d be surprised how many people don’t have plates or forks. We can’t keep a fork in this building.

“For a lady with four kids getting clothes for them can reduce stress. A mother can see her son going to school with lovely shoes. People don’t have excess money to buy stuff.”

Describing how the shop operates Mel added: “Our community shop is exactly like a charity shop expect everything is free. It’s a sharing shop. People bring stuff and take stuff.”

Students, local residents, elderly people and working families all get to pick ten items to take away but there is flexibility depending on circumstances.

Donations come from supermarkets including Waitrose, shops and residents offering items that need to go to a good new home.

H4TH is also on standby to help people referred from housing associations across the city, West Dunbartonshire Council, Simon Community, social work and individuals among others.

The organisation, which has been operating for about ten years, also dishes out hot food every Thursday evening from Cadogan Street.

But all the huge efforts would run more smoothly if the organisation had its own van for transporting washing machines and furniture among other sought after goods.

Mel currently relies on borrowing a van and all public or private cash donations would be welcome so the organisation can more easily continue its varied work.

Scottish Iraqi Association chair Faten Hameed who has volunteered at H4TH described Mel as a “hero. ”

She said: “The shops are vital for community and for people needing items for themselves, their kids and homes. Parents cannot afford items including expensive shoes due to the cost of living crisis.

“The worst thing is when a child goes to school and they see their friends with items they cannot afford themselves. Mums can come in and pick up items for their children which is vital for the survival of families.

She urges a business to consider helping the charity source a van so it can easily deliver and pick up larger donations for families.

Volunteer Mandi Mcilvride said: “I love volunteering here. We do a wide array of things for different people. It is great.”

The group are grateful to Spire View Housing Association for its support.

The Royston shop, which has 2,500 members opens from noon to 7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays while the Clydebank one with about 3,500 members operates on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10.30am to 4pm.

Becoming a member is free. The organisation’s phone number is 07966062495 and it can be found on Facebook.

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