Operation Christmas Child is back: Annual appeal for festive shoebox underway

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An annual festive appeal for shoeboxes filled with goodies for youngsters living in some of the world’s poorest countries is to get underway again.

Each year, Carol Hall rallies volunteers to take part in the annual Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal in aid of children living lives less fortunate than our own in countries inclding Romania and Belarus.

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

For 26 years, kind-hearted South Tynesiders have made up shoeboxes filled with festive gifts and treats helping to put smiles on the faces of youngsters who would otherwise have received nothing on Christmas Day.

Mrs Hall hopes this year the generosity of people will be no different as she and her army of volunteers gear up for what they hope to be a busy few months ahead.

The official launch of the appeal will take place on Wednesday at the Salvation Army Church in Monkton Road, Jarrow at 7pm.

As well as being able to drop off filled shoeboxes, people will be able to find out more about where their donations go, and how they can volunteer themselves.

The conditions these children are living in, you really wouldn’t think this is still happening in this day and age,

Carol Hall

Mrs Hall said: “It is the joy you see on the faces of the children when they open the boxes - you can’t describe it. That’s what makes me do it each year.

“I have been fortunate enough to visit some of these countries as the boxes are handed out and it’s great to see the end result.

“It does make you make feel very humble.

“The conditions these children are living in, you really wouldn’t think this is still happening in this day and age, but some families are cramped into one room with no running water and toilets outside. It is absolutely horrendous. So to be able to give the children something to help put a smile on their faces, it really is priceless.”

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

Since Operation Christmas Child was launched 28 years ago there have been 157 million shoeboxes handed out to youngsters throughout 160 countries worldwide.

This year, nationally, they aim to collect and distribute 11 million shoeboxes filled with goodies.

Following the launch, a number of collection points will be set up where schools, residents, businesses and community groups can drop off their filled shoeboxes.

Drop-offs are usually open from November 1 to 18.

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

Children who have benefitted from the shoebox appeal

These include the warehouse at Unit 24 at The Royal Industrial Estate in Jarrow, a shop which will be open three days a week within the Jarrow’s shopping precinct and Shoezone.

Any schools and businesses that would like to get involved is asked to contact Mrs Hall on 07742 017 314.

Items to include in the shoebox:

Toys: Include a toy that a child can love such as a doll or a cuddly toy, toy truck, skipping rope, yo-yo ball, small puzzle, musical instrument

School Supplies: Pens, colouring pencils, sharpener and eraser, crayons, felt pens, stamp and ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks and paper, colouring and picture books, solar calculators etc..

Hygiene items: Toothbrush and toothpaste, bar of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel

Other items: Hat, cap, gloves, scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, wind up torch, jewellery sets, sweets (must have best before date of at least March the following year).