VOLUNTEERS who helped send 9,000 Christmas gifts to underprivileged children around the world celebrated the success of the scheme.
Operation Christmas Child saw 9,309 shoeboxes filled with toys and gifts travel from South Tyneside to children in Belarus, who may not have received a festive gift otherwise.
Volunteers who helped make it happen got together with the Mayor of South Tyneside Fay Cunningham and Mayoress Stella Matthewson to celebrate their success at the Salvation Army, in Jarrow.
A letter of support was read out by Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn, before a film was played of the shoeboxes being sent off.
The 9,309 boxes donated by people from South Tyneside and Gateshead was part of the total 850,638 given by people in the North East and Yorkshire. Globally, 10,440,333 shoeboxes were handed over in the annual appeal.
Carol Hall, area co-ordinator for South Tyneside and Gateshead, said: “Ian Proudler, the area manager for the North East and Yorkshire came along to tell us about his trip to Kosovo and shared some moving stories and pictures with us. Everyone had a lovely evening.”
The volunteers are appealing for wool to knit hats, scarves, and other items for this year’s appeal. Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army, in Bede Burn Road, on Fridays between 9.30am and noon and 5pm and 6.20pm.