SHOEBOXES: Gifts for children

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As the summer is over and shops are now displaying their Christmas stock, our thoughts turn to those less fortunate.

Operation 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 a hat, gloves, scarves, soap, toothpaste, stationery, wrapped sweets and a small toy.

Some items are not suitable and these are liquids, chocolate, war items, such as soldiers and guns, as these children have seen war at first hand, also 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. Because costs have gone up, we have suggested an increase from £3 to £5 per box. However, we are grateful for any amount.

Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered 11.5million shoeboxes, with 850,000 from the UK and 4,703 from Northumberland.

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, Handi Stationery in Alnwick, schools and churches, and our processing centre.

Drivers volunteer to collect the boxes and bring them to the processing centre, where volunteers check and seal them. Our processing centre is at Doxford Place Methodist Church in Cramlington. We are grateful to the Rev Adele Moorhouse, who has kindly agreed to let us have the premises. We will be open Monday to Friday, from 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 come and visit us.

Carol Nelson

Operation Christmas Child