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Devon charity's help for Moldovan youngsters

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: November 09, 2009

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

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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.

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