Help fill shoeboxes to bring joy to children at Christmas

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AN APPEAL for people to provide shoeboxes of Christmas presents for poor children around the world is being launched this weekend.

Operation Christmas Child, which has been run by Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse since 1990, sends one million boxes to youngsters in 14 countries, including Belarus, Haiti, Romania and Zimbabwe.

This year’s campaign has a pre-Olympics sporting theme and supporters are asked to include items such as a skipping ropes, tennis balls or sweatbands in their boxes.

Keith Gibbons, the charity’s Lincolnshire manager, said: “We know we can count on people’s big-heartedness even in difficult economic times.

Our main aim is to bring some happiness and hope at Christmas to youngsters who live in very difficult conditions, including displaced persons’ camps, street shelters, hospitals and children’s homes. It’s quite wonderful to see what a shoebox of toys and other small presents can do to brighten up these children’s lives.”

Operation Christmas Child was started to help children in Romanian orphanages. Boxes donated by individuals, schools, churches and other organisations are delivered directly into the hands of the children.

Anyone wishing to participate should visit or contact the 0870 011 2002 helpline for guidance.

A £2.50 contribution towards shipping and other costs is requested and the deadline is November 18.