Kind South Tynesiders make thousands of festive shoeboxes filled with treats for Romanian children

Thousands of Romanian children will be able to open a present this Christmas thanks to kindhearted people in South Tyneside.

Volunteers packed 9,254 shoe boxes filled with gifts as part of the Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal which is ran by the Samaritan’s Purse charity.

The lorry, which left from the organisation’s South Tyneside base in Jarrow this week, has a 1,599 mile journey before it reaches its destination in Cluj, Romania.

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If weather conditions stay fine the parcels were set to arrive yesterday where they will be given to youngsters who may not have received a festive gift.

Carol Hall, area coordinator for South Tyneside, Gateshead and SR6, who has been organising the appeal for more than 24 years, is delighted another lorry-load of presents are now on their way.

She said: “We’re very pleased with this year’s efforts.

“It’s not the biggest haul we’ve ever had, but during these times of austerity we are still very grateful for every box that we receive.

“The lorry is expected to arrive on Sunday, it’s very cold, but the conditions have been good so hopefully there will be no hold ups.

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“The shoe boxes will then be handed out to orphanages, hospitals and school in the area.

“We don’t pick the area, last wear we donated boxes to Belarus, we are informed which country most in need by head office.”

Shoebox volunteers, along with Hebburn Firefighters, helpers from the Tynemouth TA & the Prince’s Trust, plus the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Alan smith and Mayoress, Coun Moira Smith all helped to load the lorry .

In total 74 local schools, 50 churches, 22 firms and 17 clubs took part in the appeal.

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The boxes were filled with a range of cuddly toys, small games and treats.

Carol said: “The shoe boxes will be shared out, but kept until a little bit nearer to Christmas before being given to the children.”