Thanks from charity to shoebox supporters

OPERATION Christmas Child has thanked local communities, including Bo'ness, for filling up shoeboxes for vulnerable youngsters.

Teams of volunteers have been checking and loading them at the charity's processing centre in Glasgow before they travel to Belarus and Crimea.

The shoeboxes, packed with toys, educational items, sweets and other small gifts, will bring Christmas joy to children who are living in difficult conditions in orphanages, children's homes, street shelters and hospitals, or perhaps with their family but in conditions of poverty.

Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child, Chris Thomson, said:

"People here have been brilliant. Times are quite tough for many, but they have still gone out of their way to pack a shoebox.

"The encouraging comments our volunteers get when collecting shoeboxes from schools, churches, businesses, at drop-off points and from people handing them in at the warehouse remind us there are many good, kind-hearted people out there.

"We see thoughtfulness from all ages and walks of life and it is very humbling.

"I wish each of these people could see the impact their shoeboxes have on the children who get them.

"It really makes a difference and brings joy and happiness to children who have very difficult lives."

Chris added: "Although most of our lorries are already on their way, do not worry - you have not missed out!

"The good news is that we have a new online service that allows people to do a shoebox up to December 25."

Create a virtual showbox online at www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/shoeboxworld

Volunteers in the charity's warehouses then fill actual shoeboxes with the selected items and prepare them to be shipped to one of the destination countries where shoeboxes are given to children in need, for example around January 7 which is the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

"This is the 20th year of Operation Christmas Child and we continue to be bowled over by people's kindness, so I would like to send a big 'Thank you' to all those who donated a shoebox and to all our volunteers and others who help make this happen," said Chris.