GIFT WRAPPED: Hugh Scudder collecting boxes from the Echo's office for Christian Response's Christmas shoebox appeal for Moldovan children MATT AUSTIN EE061109_MA1_08
SHOEBOXES will help make Christmas special for children who have nothing.
Christian Response, in Kenton, runs the annual campaign to send shoeboxes packed with toys and gifts to youngsters in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country.
Beautifully wrapped boxes have already been delivered to the Echo for the sixth year running, but more are needed to top last year’s total of more than 4,000.
“Normally, the children have nothing for Christmas or their birthday,” said charity director Hugh Scudder, from Kenton. “The shoeboxes are so important to those who receive them.”
Readers can fill shoeboxes with new toys and other items, such as toothbrushes, hair ties, jewellery and sweets
“We are taking the boxes over in time for Christmas,” Mr Scudder. “I can’t over emphasise the importance of these boxes because many of the children feel lonely and abandoned and the gifts make them feel so much better and put a guaranteed smile on their face.”
The parcels are delivered to orphanages, soup kitchens and poor families. Mr Scudder said: “Many children are curious to know where their box has come from, so it is nice if you put a picture of yourself in the box and a card with a message.
“We see the photos stuck on the walls of the orphanage or houses. When the children feel down they can look at them and remember there are people who care.”
Shoeboxes should be filled with new items, wrapped in Christmas paper to prevent them spilling open, and marked with the gender and age of child they would be suitable for.
“New toys like cars and dolls are great, as they don’t tend to have them over there,” said Mr Scudder.
“Things like toothpaste and hair bands are appreciated more than they would be by children here.
“Sweets also tend to go down well.”
The only things Mr Scudder discouraged were toy guns and similar, liquids, in case they spill and spoil the contents in the box or box below, and playing cards.
“We would rather have fewer, good quality boxes than lots of half empty ones, he said”
People can also put together shoeboxes for grandparents, who are often the ones looking after the children, or bigger boxes for whole families. Food parcels are warmly welcomed.
Mr Scudder added: “We can never have too many and will send a second truck if we need to.”
Shoeboxes can be left at Langmaids News, in Fore Street, or brought to the Echo’s office in Heron Road, Sowton, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
The last drop-off day is Monday, November 30. For more information, contact Mr Scudder on 01626 891945.