Mystery gifts have been appearing on benches in a Fife town centre, offering a glimmer of hope to those sleeping on the streets.
Dozens of present bags, packed with gloves, scarves, toiletries, and gifts, were left on outdoor seating throughout Dunfermline.
The tokens of good will also had notes attached urging those suffering hardship to stay strong.
One letter – signed “the Unknowns” – read: “If you are homeless or don’t have much take me. People do care, Merry Christmas.”
News of the kind gestures has met with warm approval by many on social media praising those behind the initiative.
Now the good Samaritan who set up the mental health and homeless support group called The Unknowns says this is only the start of a range of support for those in need in the town.
Michelle Ness said: “People are suffering real hardship right now and at this time of year just surviving from one day to the next is a struggle.
“It was my daughter who came up with the idea so I got work colleagues to rally round donating coats and I put the goodie bags together.”
She said: “Many people won’t give those suffering on the streets a second look but I just can’t walk past and do nothing, I have to help and must let them know they have not been forgotten.”
The 38-year-old mum-of-three – who by her own admission has overcome her own difficulties with drink and poverty in earlier life – said she knows from first-hand experience just how a little gesture of support can lift a person’s morale.
“The impact of the coronavirus on people’s mental health and on those already struggling to get by is huge,” she said. “Part of the idea behind the mystery gifts was to raise awareness about those issues on the street that are real and happening now.
“Society and governments need to do more to support those out there suffering hardship.”
As part of the group’s pledge to continue to offer support, Michelle also plans a number of fundraising initiatives in the coming months to help the group to do even more.
“I can’t thank those who have donated items or money and for those who have sent messages of support on social media,” she said.
“It’s given us a massive boost to continue and to do even more if we can to not only offer help but also put mental health and homelessness in the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
To learn more about how to support the group go The Unknowns Facebook page.