As the co-ordinators for the whole of Northumberland, we 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 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal this year.
To all the Shoe Zone shops and Handy Stationery in Alnwick, thank you for being drop-off points in the area for the public. This was a great help for our drivers.
And to the Rev Adele Moorhouse and the congregation of the Methodist Church, Doxford Place, Cramlington, thank you from all of us for allowing us to use your church to process the boxes.
This is the second 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 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 of the public as well as supplying shoeboxes have held extra events to raise more money to help with the transport costs to cover the boxes that have no money in, and for that we are very grateful.
On Monday, December 1, we loaded 3,952 shoeboxes onto a lorry which was taking them to needy children in Serbia.
Serbia first received shoeboxes in 1992 at the height of the Balkan crises delivering to children in the orphanages.
This year parts of Serbia were hit hard by flooding with thousands of people having to leave their homes and having their livelihoods destroyed.
Samaritan’s Purse contributed to the humanitarian response, offering essential assistance to the affected families.
These boxes that are sent from Operational Christmas Child/Samaritan’s Purse are given to needy children around the world regardless of religion.
We do not put anything religious at all into our shoeboxes. We call it unconditional ‘Love in a Box to 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 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 Serbia 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 Carol Nelson (01670) 736509 or Jackie Rogers 07973 331748.
Carol Nelson & Jackie Rogers
Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal