Businesses and residents team up to ‘do something amazing’ for St Albans homeless and elderly

PUBLISHED: 12:07 05 January 2016

Emma Dalton from St Albans District Foodbank and Glynn Pope from Harrison Murray in St Albans

Emma Dalton from St Albans District Foodbank and Glynn Pope from Harrison Murray in St Albans

Photo supplied

An appeal for random acts of kindness resulted in generous residents donating hundreds of presents for elderly people and those who are homeless, over the festive season.

St Albans mum Becki Jones has praised locals for “doing something amazing” by leaving hundreds of Christmas boxes at Argos in Griffiths Way and Oliver & Akers estate agents in London Colney, in response to an appeal for help.

Becki said that she set up a group on Facebook, called ‘Random Acts of Kindness’, which has been joined by 800 St Albans residents.

Last year her son, Bailey, wanted to donate gifts of socks, gloves, chocolates, hats and necessities to homeless people in London, and ended up delivering 30-odd boxes.

Becki said: “This year, I thought I’d create the group and see if we could get St Albans to join in. So many residents were keen, that I thought I’d be cheeky and ask if anyone would be prepared to buy one more gift at Christmas for elderly people who are on their own.

“We hoped to get 100 gifts, but we ended up with over 400 boxes. Last year we had a boot-full; this year we needed a bus.”

St Albans Van Hire offered the use of a minibus free of charge, and hundreds of boxes were delivered to homeless people in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London.

Becki said: “Bailey climbed into the back of the bus and passed all the gifts to us to hand out. The queue of homeless people was heart-breaking, and we didn’t have enough gifts to go around.

“One man in his 70s asked if we had any shoes. He showed me his toes coming through the bottom of his trainer. We didn’t have shoes but we had socks, and he was so grateful.”

Becki added: “We also gave presents to a large group of local elderly people, through Age Concern, for their Christmas party. Many of them don’t have someone visiting at Christmas.

“So people added letters to their gifts, saying ‘if you want someone to visit, give us a call’.”

Presents and homemade cakes were also given to elderly residents who receive meals on wheels, through the Jubilee Centre in St Albans.

Local drop-in centre, Centre 33, which welcomes homeless and socially or materially disadvantaged people in the community, also received gifts.

Becki said: “Everyone was so generous. St Albans mums and residents and members of the Random Acts of Kindness group have done something amazing and made a difference.”

• The St Peter’s Street branch of St Albans estate agents Harrison Murray helped St Albans and District Foodbank by collecting three large boxes in aid of the charity over Christmas. Branch manager Glynn Pope said the team, who collected tins and store cupboard basics and seasonal treats, was “overwhelmed by the generosity of customers and staff”.

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