Get involved in Christmas operation

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As the shops are now displaying their Christmas stock, Operational Christmas Child has launched its annual appeal for help.

The scheme has been going for 23 years now, and shows how a simple gift-filled box can brighten the day for needy children overseas.

The scheme is simple – you take a shoebox cover it in Christmas paper and fill it with items which are appropriate for the age and gender of the child either two to four, five to nine or ten to 14-years-old.

Boxes can be dropped off at Shoezone in Ashington, Cramlington, Morpeth, Blyth and Handi Stationery in Alnwick. Local schools and churches are also drop off points.

Items that can be included are hat, gloves, scarves, toiletries, no liquids, stationery, wrapped sweets and a small toy.

People then put £3 in the box to help with the transportation costs needed to deliver the boxes.

Last year 80,000 boxes did not have any money and it cost Operational Christmas Child £240,000 to deliver them.

Carol Nelson, from Operation Christmas Child, said: “Last year Operation Christmas Child delivered the 100 millionth shoebox to a child and 4,056 of them came from Northumberland.

“This year we are trying to increase this amount, so if you have never done it before please think about it.

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

“Our boxes this year are going to Belarus, and our processing centre 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, and we will be open from Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm until Monday, November 25.

“We are always looking for volunteers so if you feel you would like to help please do come and visit us.”

For more details contact Carol on (01670) 736509.