We, as the co-ordinators for Northumberland, would like to say a very big thank-you to all the schools, churches, organisations, volunteers, knitters, drivers, checkers and packers who were involved with the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal this year.
To all the Shoe Zone shops and Handie Stationery in Alnwick, thank you for being drop-off points for the public. This was a great help to our drivers.
And to the Reverend Adele Moorhouse and the congregation of the Methodist Church, Doxford Place, Cramlington, thank you for allowing us to use your church to process the boxes. The volunteers agreed that the church was the best premises they have been in.
We have been truly amazed at the generosity of people supplying completed boxes or donations of knitting, hats, gloves, scarves, toiletries and stationery.
Last year a great number of boxes had no money in them so Samaritans Purse had to pay the transport costs. However, this year many organisations, and the public, have held extra events to raise more money to help with the costs, and for that we are very grateful.
On Monday, November 30, we loaded 4,506 shoeboxes onto a lorry, which was taking them to needy children in Romania. This exceeded our total from last year by 500.
Romania is where Operational Christmas Child started in 1990. Dave Cook, from Wales, was so touched when he watched a television programme about children in orphanages that he drove a lorry to give them toiletries, hats, gloves, scarves, stationery and a small cuddly toy. He suggested that it would be good if everyone could fill a shoebox with all the items and this way every child would receive a gift.
Now Operation Christmas Child delivers to 130 of the poorest countries worldwide. These boxes are given to needy children. We do not put anything religious into our shoeboxes. We call it ‘unconditional love in a box to a child’.
Although this year’s appeal is finished, I know that the knitters and others have already started collecting for next year.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who have been involved this year. When you open your presents on Christmas morning, you will know that a child in Romania will have a smile on their face because of the generosity of the people of Northumberland.
If you would like to know more or become involved, please contact us on the numbers below.
Carol Nelson 01670 736509
Jackie Rogers 07973331748