APPEAL: Gifts are like ‘love in a box’

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Shops are displaying their Christmas stock and our thoughts turn to those who are less fortunate.

Operation Christmas Child has been going for 26 years. A simple gift-filled box demonstrates our love for needy children overseas. This gift is unconditional love. We call it ‘Love in a Box’.

You take a shoebox, cover it in Christmas paper, and fill it with items appropriate for the age of the child — two to four years, five to nine years, or ten to 14 years. Items that can be included are hats, gloves, scarves, toiletries — no liquids, stationery, wrapped sweets and a small toy.

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

We ask for an average of £3 in the box to help with transportation costs. Last year a number did not have any money and it cost Operational Christmas Child a great deal for transport.

In 2015 Operation Christmas Child delivered 900,000 boxes from Britain to needy children, and 4,500 of them came from Northumberland, 500 up from 2014. Well done to everyone who contributed. This year we are hoping to increase this number, so if you have never done it before, please think about it.

Boxes can be dropped off at Shoe Zone shops in Ashington, Cramlington, Morpeth and Blyth, and Handi Stationery in Alnwick. Schools and churches, including the Methodist Church in Howard Terrace, Morpeth, are also a drop-off points.

A team of drivers volunteer to collect the boxes and bring them to the processing centre where another team of volunteers check and seal them ready to be transported.

At the present time we do not know the destination for our boxes. Last year our boxes went to Romania. This is where the Christmas Shoebox Appeal started 26 years ago, all because one man saw the state of the children’s orphanages on the television. Now the whole world is involved.

Our processing centre this year is again 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 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 2.30pm, until November 24.

We are always looking for volunteers so if you feel you would like to help, or if you just wish to see what we actually do, please do drop in and visit us. We can always give you a cup of coffee/tea.

We can be contacted on the numbers below.

Carol Nelson and Jackie Rogers

01670 736509 or 01670 713930