On Friday, December 1, onto a lorry from a warehouse at Brunswick Industrial Estate, we loaded 3,622 shoeboxes from Northumberland, together with 6,122 boxes from Newcastle. The lorry is transporting the boxes to children in Romania.
Although this figure is slightly down on last year, it is an excellent effort from everyone.
Romania is where Operational Christmas Child started in 1990 after pictures of the conditions of the orphanages where children lived were shown on television in the UK.
The charity now delivers to 130 of the poorest countries worldwide and globally last year 11.5 million were sent. From this, 882,000 came from the UK.
Unlike some other shoeboxes, who have nothing to do with our appeal, we do not put anything religious into our boxes. We call it Unconditional Love In A Box To A Child.
As the co-ordinator for the whole of Northumberland, I 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 this year’s appeal, as well as the schools and Brownies, who came in to help check the boxes.
To all the Shoe Zone shops and Handie Stationery in Alnwick, thank you for being drop-off points in the area for the public.
And to the Rev Adele Moorhouse and the congregation of the Methodist Church, Doxford Place, Cramlington, thank you again from all of us for allowing us to use your church to process the boxes. This is the fifth year that we have used the church building.
Finally, a very big thank you to the three companies who supplied the manpower and a forklift truck on a very cold morning to help us load the lorry – Southbay Civil Engineering, North Shields; Northumbrian Water, Cramlington; and Classical Creations, Brunswick Industrial Estate. We could not have managed without you.
We know that this year because of the economic climate in Britain many families have found things hard, but once again we have been truly amazed at the generosity of people and children supplying completed boxes and donations.
As in previous years, we did receive boxes with no money in so Samaritans Purse does have to pay the transport costs. Because shipping and fuel costs have increased, we suggested a rise of the donation in the box to £5. We took one box to the Post Office and discovered that to send it to Romania would be £15.65 so £5 did not seem that much.
However, this year many individuals and organisations, as well as supplying shoeboxes, held extra events to raise money to help with the transport costs, and for that we are very grateful.
Although this year’s appeal is now 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 and we look forward to seeing you all next year.
Last year, we heard that a little girl was delighted to receive three bars of soap in her box as she could give one to her mother and another to her sister.
She had never given them a present before.
If you would like to know more or become involved, please contact me on the number below.
Operation Christmas Child