APPEAL: Gifts of love for needy children

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As shops are displaying their Christmas stock our thoughts turn to those less fortunate.

Operational Christmas Child has been going for 25 years. A simple, gift-filled box demonstrates our love for needy children overseas.

You take a shoebox, cover it in Christmas paper and fill it with items appropriate for the age of the child.

Items can include hats, gloves, scarves, soap, toothpaste, stationery, wrapped sweets and a small toy.

There are some items that are not suitable and these are liquids, chocolate and war items, such as soldiers and guns, as these children have seen war at first-hand. There should also be no books with a lot of words or anything of a religious nature.

Some organisations do not complete full boxes, but give us items to make them up, for which we are very grateful.

In the past supporters have been invited to include a donation to cover the cost of processing and transportation of the boxes. Because international shipping and fuel costs have gone up, we have suggested an increase of the donation from £3 to £5 per box. However, we are grateful for any amount.

Last year Operation Christmas Child delivered globally 11.5 million shoeboxes, with 850,000 from the UK, and 4,703 from Northumberland. Of course, we are always trying to increase this amount so if you have never done it before, please think about it.

Boxes can be dropped off at Shoezone in Ashington, Cramlington, Morpeth and Blyth, and Handi Stationery in Alnwick. Schools and churches are also drop-off points, as well as our processing centre.

We have a team of drivers who volunteer to collect boxes and bring them to the processing centre where volunteers check and seal them ready to be transported.

Our processing centre this year is at Doxford Place Methodist Church in Cramlington. We are very grateful to the Rev Adele Moorhouse, who has kindly agreed to let us have these premises.

We will be open Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm, from Tuesday, November 7 until Wednesday, November 22.

If you would like to help, or if you just wish to see what we do, please visit us. I can be contacted on 01670 736509 or email nelson3048@tiscali.co.uk

Carol Nelson,

Operation Christmas Child