South Shields schoolchildren lend a hand to Christmas shoebox appeal

Pupils and staff from Westoe Crown Primary School with their shoeboxes.
Pupils and staff from Westoe Crown Primary School with their shoeboxes.

School pupils from South Tyneside have been lending a helping hand to volunteers as they get set to send thousands of shoeboxes filled with goodies to children living in deprived countries.

Pupils from Westoe Crown Primary visited the unit in Jarrow where they got to see behind the scenes of the operation.

Westoe Crown Primary School pupil Libby with volunteer Ian Currie stacking shoeboxes ready for collection.

Westoe Crown Primary School pupil Libby with volunteer Ian Currie stacking shoeboxes ready for collection.

They chipped in with helping volunteers check shoeboxes were filled with age-appropriate goodies before they were sealed ready for departure on Tuesday.

The annual Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal – run by Samaritan’s Purse – helps to put smiles on the faces of youngsters living in deprived countries who would otherwise receive nothing for Christmas.

This year, donations will be sent to Kiev where they will be distributed to youngsters throughout the Ukraine.

Carol Hall, who is co-ordinator for South Tyneside said: “The children had a great time helping to pack and check the boxes.

There is still going to be more than 6,500 children with smiles on their faces thanks to the generosity of the people of South Tyneside.

Carol Hall

“They really enjoyed themselves. They checked everything and ensured the boxes had things like toothpaste in and a cuddly toy, and where items were missing they’d go and get them from the individual donations we’ve been given.”

So far, 6,690 shoeboxes have been donated.

Mrs Hall added: “We are down on the number of shoeboxes we had last year, but given today’s current economic climate we have still done really well. And there is still going to be more than 6,500 children with smiles on their faces thanks to the generosity of the people of South Tyneside.”

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

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

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army which supports Operation Christmas Child will be holding a Thanksgiving Service at its branch in Monkton Road, Jarrow on Sunday.

The service starts at 10.30am and will include singing from the St Aloysius Primary School choir. This will be followed at 2pm with a performance from the Beacon Band.

Anyone who would like to donate a shoebox filled with goodies can do so by calling into the warehouse based at Unit 24 at The Royal Industrial Estate in Jarrow.

Deadline for donations is Tuesday morning.