Wiltshire Publications

Operation Christmas Child moves to Westbury!


The Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes will be shipped from Westbury

The Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes will be shipped from Westbury

OPERATIONChristmas Child which is now under way for another year, has moved its operating centre to a warehouse in Westbury. New organisers hope the town will see 30,000 shoeboxes shipped out of the town.

The collection is run by relief charity Samaritan’s Purse, and sends thousands of shoeboxes full of presents to impoverished children around the world. West Wiltshire’s processing centre was in Melksham for over 20 years, until it moved to the West Wilts Trading Estate ahead of this year’s campaign.

Last year, 23,129 boxes were sorted and sent from Wiltshire to disadvantaged children in the Ukraine, and this year’s team hope to top that figure.

Following the retirement of Hilary McFall, who ran local operations from 1992 – 2013, Westbury charity worker and White Horse News’s ‘Person of the Year 2012’, Steve Lloyd, has taken over the reigns.

Steve won his ‘Person of the Year’ award for his charity work with Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (West Wilts Link), which offers respite holidays to children affected by the nuclear fallout of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Steve said, “I have been involved with Operation Christmas Child for a few years now, mainly helping to load the lorries. I always want to help others and make a difference in people’s lives, especially children. I think the project is amazing and captures people’s imagination and interest.

“Since Hilary retired I have been leading the operation and oversaw the project move, and we now have a much bigger warehouse, which I have set up from scratch.

“The destination of this year’s boxes has yet to be finalised, although it will probably be Eastern Europe; details will be revealed in due course. The campaign is a huge team effort and we have 30-40 volunteers at the warehouse covering different days and there are many more that pack and check shoeboxes across Wiltshire.

“Many people knit and make items for the boxes and people collect bits and pieces throughout the year towards the campaign. I thank all involved who are helping to make a difference. I would like to see us send 30,000 boxes this year and urge those in and around Westbury to try and help us reach that target.”

Shoeboxes can be packed with a variety of toys, toiletries and clothes, but there are restrictions on what can be sent. Items that are damaged, war-related, contain glass or liquids, or are perishable must not be sent. A full guide can be found at www.samaritans-purse.org.uk.

Anyone wishing to donate filled shoeboxes can take them to 113-114 Washington Road, Westbury Trading Estate, BA13 4JP between 10am and 4pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. If you have more than 50 boxes, collection can be arranged by calling Josie on 01225 282451.