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5000 Christmas Shoeboxes full of toys sent to vulnerable children in Belarus

Volunteers from Leigh sorting out gifts

Today (4 November 2020) 5000 Christmas Shoeboxes – filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys – left Kings Park Christian Centre in Leigh on their journey to vulnerable children in Belarus.

The shoeboxes were ordered online by donors across the UK, but all 5000 were tailored and packed by volunteers in Leigh and surrounding areas.

Christmas shoebox project Operation Christmas Child is run by international children’s charity Samaritan’s Purse. Due to the pandemic, their digital offering of packing a tailored and personalised shoebox online has boomed, and thanks to the volunteers of Leigh the first batch individual boxes have been packed and are now on their eight day journey to Belarus. 

For many children who will receive them, these shoeboxe gifts are the first gift they have ever received.

Tracy Berry, Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child North West says, “While the pandemic endures, we must continue to remember the most vulnerable in society, whether they are in our local area or in tough circumstances around the world. My hope is that children across the globe will find joy this Christmas through the small offering of a Christmas Shoebox. It’s humbling to know that residents of Leigh and surrounding areas can make a difference to a child somewhere who’s struggling.” 

Research released last week, conducted by Savanta Comres and commissioned by Samaritan’s Purse, highlighted that 75 per cent of those surveyed believed that children needed to feel loved this Christmas more than ever due to the impact of COVID-19,  and 79 per cent of UK adults agree that they believe all children should receive at least one present at Christmas despite their circumstances.

Director of Operation Christmas Child, Nick Cole says, “This survey shows that concern is high for children across the world during the pandemic. Through Operation Christmas Child, individuals can do the simple act of packing a shoebox and help contribute to the mental well-being of children in the most vulnerable communities. We rely on local volunteers playing a part in ensuring children are given the necessary support in the face of all they have experienced this year. This is a project that everyone can still be a part of online, even with COVID-19 restrictions.”

Find out more about packing a Christmas Shoebox online here: http://www.shoeboxonline.org.uk/

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