Record For Operation Christmas Child

WARWICK, England -- Children who live in poverty will celebrate Christmas with a gift this year thanks to the generosity of people in Warwickshire.

Sharon Hedges

Residents have collected more shoeboxes than ever before for the Operation Christmas Child appeal.

People from Warwick, Leamington and other towns in the county donated 21,000 boxes filled with items such as hats, scarfs and crayons, beating last year's total.

The UK has set a new record by donating 1.22 million shoeboxes to this year's appeal, with gifts being sent to children in eastern Europe and Africa.

The presents collected in Warwickshire will be taken to Ukraine on Thursday, where the convoy will stop in the cities of Simferopol and Odessa, delivering gifts to underprivileged children.

The area co-ordinator for Operation Christmas Child and mother of three Sharon Hedges is pleased with the response to the appeal.

She said: "It's great. We have more this year but each box is individual and makes a child very happy."

On January 4, Mrs Hedges will be joining 12 people from throughout the UK on a trip to Ukraine to deliver the gifts, which she thinks will be challenging but rewarding.

She said: "The children don't tend to have a lot of expression or emotion on their faces and when they open the boxes you get a big smile."

Schools, churches and businesses have been busy preparing the packages, with some people knitting scarves throughout the year as extras for the children.

About 60 volunteers joined together to process 9,400 boxes in Leamington, which were then stored at a warehouse donated by the Royal Aggricultural Society at Stoneleigh Park.

The project, run by the Samaritan's Purse, brings happiness to children who have nothing. Last year's trip to Ukraine visited a group of teenage boys who live on the streets of Odessa and sleep in the sewers in the winter to keep warm.

Other help can also follow as a result of the appeal, for example revisiting and refurbishing orphanages or fitting double glazing to help children throughout the year.

Source: The Courier


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