CHARITY: Chance to light up kids’ lives

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I write regarding Operation Christmas Child’s Shoebox Appeal for 2015.

We, as the co-ordinators for the whole of Northumberland, would like to say a very big thank-you to all the schools, churches, organisations, volunteers, knitters, drivers, checkers and packers who were involved with the appeal this year, and to all the Shoe Zone shops and Handie Stationery in Alnwick for being drop-off points for the public.

This was a great help for our drivers.

We’d also like to thank the Rev Adele Moorhouse and the congregation of Cramlington Methodist Church, in Doxford Place, for allowing us to use your church to process the boxes.

This is the third year that we have used the church building, and all the volunteers involved in checking the boxes agreed that the church was the best premises that they have been in.

It was warm and comfortable, not like the cold, draughty units they have had in the past.

We have been truly amazed at the generosity of people supplying completed boxes, donations of knitting, hats, gloves, scarves, toiletries and stationery to fill the boxes. Last year a great number of boxes received had no money in them so Samaritans Purse had to pay the transport costs.

However, this year, many organisations, as well as supplying shoeboxes, have held extra events to raise more money to help with transport costs, and for that we are very grateful.

On Monday, November 30, we loaded 4,506 shoeboxes onto a lorry which was taking them to needy children in Romania. This exceeded our total from last year by 500.

Romania is where Operational Christmas Child started back in 1990.

Dave Cook, from Wales, was so touched when he watched a television programme about forgotten children who were kept in orphanages and had nothing that he organised and drove a lorry to give these children basic essentials, toiletries, hats, gloves, scarves, stationery and a small cuddly toy.

He returned home and suggested to the rest of the people in his town that it would be good if everyone could fill a shoebox with all the items, and this way every child would receive a gift to call their own.

The rest is history as now Operation Christmas Child delivers to 130 of the poorest countries worldwide.

These boxes that are sent from the UK are given to needy children around the world regardless of religion.

Unlike some other shoeboxes, which have nothing to do with our appeal, we do not put anything religious at all into ours. We call it unconditional love in a box for a child.

Although this year’s appeal is finished, I know that the knitters and others have already started collecting for next year.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who have been involved this year.

When you open your presents on Christmas morning this year, you will know that a child somewhere in Romania will have a smile on their face when they open their shoebox because of the generosity of the people of Northumberland.

If you would like to know more or become involved please contact us on 01670 736509 or 07973331748

Carol Nelson and

Jackie Rogers,

Operation Christmas Child