A TEN-YEAR-OLD girl is being praised after donating 46 shoe boxes packed with essentials which will go to help Barnsley’s homeless this Christmas. 
 
Ellie Jepson, ten, wanted to help them after seeing a man sitting out in the rain while shopping with her mum, Becky.
 
She decided to take part in the Christmas Shoe Box Appeal Barnsley which distributes shoe boxes filled with toiletries and other necessities to homeless people within the borough at what is often a difficult time of year. 
 
“What set her off wanting to help was her seeing a homeless man outside Boots in the town centre,” said Becky Jepson, 33.
 
“It was pouring it down with rain and it was winter and you could see she really felt for this man and wanted to help. 
 
“When we got home she kept talking about him, and asking me how she could help him.
 
“I looked online and found the Christmas Shoe Box Appeal Barnsley Facebook page and thought she would get one box together to send in, but Ellie is a very caring and determined girl and she took the list, printed it off and gave it out as flyers so people knew what she needed donating.”
Ellie gave out copies of the items list to her friends, family and colleagues of her parents and also petitioned her headteacher to help. 
 
“Unfortunately the school couldn’t help as they were asking for help for another charity this Christmas, but Ellie didn’t let that stop her and she carried on asking for donations from everyone she spoke to.”
 
Soon Ellie had amassed a large amount of donations, with items such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and biscuits filling up her kitchen on Tamar Close, Higham. 
 
“Our kitchen looked like it had been ransacked,” said Becky. “There was stuff everywhere. It took Ellie two Saturdays to put all the boxes together and a full day to sort all the donations out into categories.
 
“She was only aiming for ten boxes but so much was donated that she kept going and going and the pile was getting bigger.”
 
Ellie received so many donations that she filled 46 shoe boxes which were dropped off at Wilthorpe Dental Surgery.
 
“I am so proud of her,” said Becky. “I got choked up when she had finished and we could see how many boxes she had.
 
“She has always wanted to help other people and I know this is just the start for her.”
Jackie Clarke, practice manager at the surgery said: “I think what Ellie has done is wonderful. To say she is only ten years old and she has donated so many boxes is amazing. 
 
“When she came in with her dad, they were struggling to get all the boxes into the practice, we had patients helping her to bring them in because there were so many.
 
“She thought she had got 40 boxes but when we counted them there were 46 which is the largest single donation we have ever had. 
 
“We have 86 boxes in total at the practice and Ellie single-handedly donated more than half of them which is amazing and really inspiring.”