APPEAL: Presents for needy children

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

Operational 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 which are appropriate for the age of the child.

Items that can be included are a hat, gloves, scarves, soap, toothpaste, stationery, wrapped sweets and a small toy.

There are some items that are not suitable and these are liquids, chocolate and war items, such as soldiers and guns as these children have seen war at first hand.

There should also be no books with a lot of words or anything of a religious nature.

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

In the past supporters of shoeboxes have been invited to include a donation to cover the cost of processing and transportation of the boxes to needy children.

Because international shipping and fuel costs have gone up we have suggested an increase of the donation from £3 to £5 per box. However, we are grateful for any amount.

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

Of course, 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, and Handi Stationery in Alnwick.

Schools and churches are also drop-off points, as well as our processing centre.

We have a team of drivers who volunteer to collect the boxes and bring them to the processing centre, where a team of volunteers checks and seals them, ready to be transported.

Our processing centre this year 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.

We will be open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 3pm, from Tuesday, November 7, until Wednesday, November 22.

If you feel you would like to help, or if you just wish to see what we actually do, please do come and visit us.

Carol Nelson

Operation Christmas Child