Seventh year of Social Media Santa to deliver Christmas gifts to homeless children

Today marks the launch of the annual Social Media Santa campaign, giving people the chance to send a gift to a child who is homeless this Christmas.

Now in its seventh year, the campaign run by housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has ensured the hundreds of presents donated every Christmas are passed on to children without a permanent home in Scotland to help brighten their Christmas.

According to the charity, last year more than 14,000 children were made homeless in Scotland and on Christmas day more than 6,000 will wake up without a home of their own in temporary accommodation.

Kind-hearted social media users are urged to buy presents suitable for boys and girls from six months to 16 years old and either post them or have them delivered directly to: Social Media Santa, Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh Community Hub, Scotiabank House, 6 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AW.

People are asked not to gift wrap their presents in order to help identify appropriate gifts in terms of age. Everyone who buys and donates a gift is encouraged to post a photo of it on social media using the hashtag #SocialMediaSanta and to tag @shelterscotland on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Social Media Santa runs until November 30. Anyone wanting to take part but unsure what to buy is encouraged to donate vouchers for clothes and household retailers.

Social Media Santa is the original idea of Ross McCulloch, director of Third Sector Lab, a specialist digital agency working with charities and social enterprises.

Ross McCulloch said: “It takes just a few clicks to make Christmas a happy time for children even though their families are coping with homelessness. We’re hoping that Scotland’s Social Media Santas will dig deep for yet another year and make a real difference to children and families across the country.”

Graeme Brown, director at Shelter Scotland, added: “I want to thank all the Social Media Santas who have ensured we have had had presents to distribute over the past six years. The gifts are greatly appreciated by children and families across Scotland.

“No child should be homeless, especially at Christmas, but we know that last year 14,000 children were made homeless in Scotland and there will be more than 6,000 children without a place to call home this festive season across Scotland. It doesn’t have to be this way. We will continue to help anyone in housing need and keep campaigning until there’s a home for everyone. Until then, this is a small but important way people can donate to the families at the sharp end of Scotland’s housing crisis.”

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