Operation Christmas Child: School has record-breaking year as piles of festive parcels go off to children facing hardship

Epinay School classroom support Sarah Vincent (rear left) and teacher Ann Walsh (rear right) with pupils and their shoe boxes.
Epinay School classroom support Sarah Vincent (rear left) and teacher Ann Walsh (rear right) with pupils and their shoe boxes.

Kind-hearted children have Christmas all wrapped up for those less fortunate.

Epinay Business and Enterprise School in Jarrow has had a record-breaking year for its Shoebox Appeal, with 161 parcels collected to send on.

It’s been a real team effort and the kids have loved doing it.

Ann Walsh

PE teacher Ann Walsh has again organised the Operation Christmas Child scheme at the school, with youngsters then going on a visit to the campaign’s warehouse in Hebburn to see parcels collected from across the area so far as they are sorted ready for their journey abroad.

Mrs Walsh, who teaches Class 7, has led the project at the school for nine years.

She said: “Children, their families and the staff in particular this year have been really generous.

“This is the most boxes we have ever collected.

“It’s been a real team effort and the kids have loved doing it.

“When we took to them to the warehouse, they could see all the boxes that had been collected so far.

“It’s run by volunteers and one of the pupils said to me it was the best place.

“The children are aware of the reasons why we do it because we’ve been doing it for nine years, but it is something we look at in our RE lessons when we talk about charity and poverty.

“With Children in Need just last week and Christmas coming up, parents have already had to pay out, so it is wonderful they have been so generous and we have managed to collect 161 boxes.

“They will also get loaded up onto a truck in December and then a driver will spend three days taking them to their final destination.”

The boxes contain items including hats, scarves, gloves and toiletries, with boxes previously collected by the school travelling to help youngsters in countries including Romania and Belarus.

Samaritan’s Purse has been running Operation Christmas Child since 1990 and more than 146 million children in over 150 countries have received shoebox gifts.

People who want to get involved in the project are still able to pack shoeboxes online until Christmas Eve.

To donate or find out more about the project visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.