Grandma Fills 500 Shoeboxes With Christmas Presents For People In Need

by : Emily Brown on : 16 Dec 2019 15:38
Grandma makes 500 shoeboxes for Christmas for people in needBrunelcare/SWNS

A thoughtful grandmother dedicated her entire year to filling 500 shoeboxes with Christmas presents for people in need. 

Fran Clarke, 80, first began putting together gift boxes four years ago and this year went above and beyond by making an average of more than one box per day.


The kind-hearted pensioner, from Hengrove, Bristol, spent an hour each day filling festively wrapped shoeboxes with items she found in charity shops and from local groups, including soap, toothbrushes, flannels, packs of cards, dominoes and clothes.

Grandmother makes 500 gift-filled shoeboxes for people in needBrunelcare/SWNS

Fran’s generous actions have led her to be labelled the ‘real life Santa’ because of the joy she spreads to people in need.

The grandmother was inspired to create the shoeboxes after seeing an advert for a gift appeal in a church magazine shortly after she moved into a care home away from her family.


Fran explained:

My son used to live opposite me, so him and my grandchildren used to come over every day, but once I moved they couldn’t visit me as often.

I initially felt lonely, but then I saw an advertisement about a shoe box appeal in a church magazine and I thought it was a great idea.

I was given a room upstairs to work on the shoe boxes, and it has really helped me keep busy.

Grandmother stands with shoeboxes she's made for people in needBrunelcare/SWNS

The 80-year-old varies the contents of the shoeboxes depending on the intended recipient, so while adults receive toiletries and more sophisticated games children are treated to toys, dolls, books and colouring pencils.


Each shoebox costs around £5 to fill but Fran’s incredible generosity means around £2,500 has been spent on the gifts in 2019 alone. The 80-year-old pays for a lot of the project herself, though she also receives charitable contributions from others looking to help.

Gift-filled shoebox made for people in needBrunelcare/SWNS

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Thankfully the grandmother does have some help with her mission as a local shoe shop named Pavers sets aside around 15 boxes a week for the hardworking woman, meaning she doesn’t have to go out and buy a new pair of shoes every day to keep up with her gift-giving habit.

William Jacob, the store manager of Pavers, expressed his fondness for the 80-year-old, saying:


Fran comes in regularly to collect shoe boxes and she always brightens up the day letting us know they’re being used for a good cause!

Grandmother holds up gift-filled shoebox created for people in needBrunelcare/SWNS

Fran also receives assistance from friends and workers at her care home, who help the selfless resident put together the boxes and also donate items.

Once the collection of gifts is ready to go, the boxes are picked up by charities who distribute them to those in need, ensuring every recipient has something to open for Christmas.


After taking a well deserved break to celebrate the festive season, Fran is back making shoeboxes in January.  A truly amazing grandmother!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Bristol, Charity, Christmas, donation, grandmother, homeless