Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Christmas shoebox gifts bring joy to needy children

GIFT-filled shoeboxes given by people in West Somerset are among a total of 230,000 from across the county which are being sent for Christmas to needy children in Eastern European and African countries.
Operation Christmas Child is this year helping children in countries such as Belarus, Bosnia, Romania, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Liberia, Mozambique, and Swaziland.
The appeal is one of the main annual projects run by Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid charity.
Volunteers collected the shoeboxes at drop-off points across the South West before they were checked and packed for transportation at warehouses prior to shipment to their final destinations.
Founded in 1990, Operation Christmas Child is now one of the UK’s largest annual charity programmes.
Regional manager Roger Fenton said the charity wanted to say an official ‘thank you’ to everybody in West Somerset who had helped make this year’s appeal such a success.
Mr Fenton said: “We have been extremely pleased with how the campaign has gone this year and we have been overwhelmed by the number of people from West Somerset who have participated.
"It is a massive operation, but it all comes down to one simple act of kindness - filling a shoebox with gifts for a child who has little at Christmas.
“We have collected over 1.25 million boxes nationally this year, which means there are many needy children who will see that there is somebody who is thinking of them this Christmas.
“The impact that a shoebox containing some simple gifts has upon a child with nothing - and their family - cannot be over emphasised.
“Many experience challenges most of us would find hard to imagine, and the toys and other gifts brighten difficult lives, particularly at this time of year.
“The thought that goes into each shoebox is special, because it is one person choosing gifts for a child who is living a very different life from that which we enjoy in this country.
“These are gifts from somebody in Britain direct to a child who greatly appreciates what he or she receives.”

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