Wiltshire Publications

Spread Christmas cheer with shoebox appeal

OPERATIONChristmas Child is under way and  Westbury is collecting gift-filled shoeboxes on behalf of international relief charity Samaritan’s Purse.

Haine & Smith opticians is taking part and will be collecting the Christmas packages throughout November.

Westbury residents are encouraged to fill shoeboxes with new toys, stationery, small clothing and hygiene items which will be sent to children living in refugee camps, orphanages and impoverished neighbourhoods around the world.

Manager at Haine & Smith Vivienne Howse said, “We’ve worked with Steve Lloyd in the past with his work with the Chernobyl Children and when he mentioned about Operation Christmas Child we were really keen to get involved.

“It’s a brilliant thing to do because these children have nothing and it brings them so much happiness. I would encourage everyone to make up a box and get involved. It’s such a worthy cause.”

Co-ordinator for Westbury and surrounding areas Steve Lloyd said, “We’re collecting from other regions this year so we are really busy. The warehouse in Southwick is already filling up which is fantastic.

“This year we would like to collect 50,000 boxes which I think we will do. This year the charity may send some of the Christmas boxes to the Syrian refugee children so more than ever we need a big push.

“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.”

People making donations are asked to indicate whether their shoebox is intended for a boy or a girl, as well as their age category – two to four-years-old, five to nine, or ten to 14.

Examples of things that can be included are cuddly toys, tennis balls, small musical instruments, toy  cars, dolls, pens, pencils,  colouring books, stickers, toothbrushes, hairbrushes,  soap, sweets, gloves, and hats. No sharp, easily breakable, or war-related  items should be included.

For a full list of what is suitable to include or for more information go to www.samaritans-purse.org.uk

Haine & Smith opticians is at 19 Church Street, Westbury BA13 3BN, open from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays. You can also drop boxes off at the warehouse in Southwick which is at Unit 16, Dunkirk Business Park, Frome Rd, Southwick, Trowbridge, BA14 9NL and is open from 10am to 4.30pm Monday – Saturday.

If you would like to help sort the boxes, please call Steve Lloyd on 07715 843872.