WITH less than eight weeks to go until Christmas, a seasonal charity scheme is getting into gear.
Operation Christmas Child’s Shoebox Appeal provides boxes of gifts for needy children overseas. In many cases, the gift will be the only one they receive.
The project has been going for 23 years and last year it delivered its 100 millionth shoebox.
Northumberland volunteers, who gathered more than 4,000 boxes last year, have now launched this year’s appeal.
Gifts collected in the county will be processed at the Doxford Place Methodist Church in Cramlington, before being sent to deprived youngsters in Belarus.
Co-ordinator Carol Nelson said: “Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered the 100 millionth shoebox to a child and 4,056 of them came from Northumberland. This year we are trying to increase this amount so if you have never done it before, please think about it.”
Shoeboxes should be covered in wrapping paper and filled with items appropriate for the age and gender of the recipient, with age groups split into two to four years, five to nine years and ten to 14 years.
Suggested items include hats, gloves, scarves, toiletries, stationery, wrapped sweets and small toys. Liquids are not allowed. Donors should also include £3 to help with transportation costs as last year 80,000 boxes did not have any money inside and it cost £240,000 to deliver them.
Filled boxes can be dropped off at local Shoezone shops, schools and churches.
The Morpeth Area Partially Sighted Group has already made up gifts at a meeting earlier this month.
The Cramlington processing centre will be open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 3pm, from next week. Volunteers would be welcome.
For further information, call Carol Nelson on 01670 736509, or email firstname.lastname@example.org