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Scarborough Shoebox Campaign Launches

Scarborough Shoebox Campaign Launches

Published by Karen Liu at 7:23am 29th October 2019.

The Scarborough branch of Operation Christmas Child has launched in the town.

Since 1993 the national charity, run by international Christian aid relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse, has collected shoeboxes full of gifts which are donated by the people of the world and sent as Christmas presents to children of all nations. 

These children would otherwise receive nothing by which to celebrate the special time of year. 

In Scarborough last year, 5,026 shoeboxes were sent abroad - to Moldova and east Africa - as the tally of boxes sent from the UK soared past the half a million mark. 

This year the charity aims to reach even more children, many of whom live in desperate conditions of poverty and isolation, some with no family and in danger from disease - and the bullet.

Rob Garner, the Scarborough coordinator for this year's appeal on the coast, said:

"We do this each year to show the children of the world that we love them, even if we don’t know them.

When you read and see of the conditions many of these children face, your heart bleeds.

There is little joy in their lives … we aim to change that. We see pictures of the smiles and excitement on children’s faces when they open their boxes at Christmas. That’s why we do it."

Each year the charity ask the public of Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast to pack boxes and fill them with gifts, ranging from school supplies, of pens, pencils, writing and colouring materials,  solar calculators, to hygiene items, such as toothbrushes (but not toothpaste), soap, flannels, and small toys, hats, caps and scarves. 

Rob said:

"We’re so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of so many people who give for the children.

This area has played such a massive part in the Operation Christmas Child effort both regionally and nationally over the years. We cannot thank the public enough."

Rob acknowledged the charity faces on-going challenges and it is going through a period of change in the way it operates locally and nationally, but above it all are the children. 

He said:

"Like all charities, we have to examine how we work and reach out to people. That presents challenges and change … and some people find change difficult. 

Yet, through it all we carry on because we know that for every box we collect and send, a child somewhere in our world will benefit."

Rob told of a visit he made to the charity’s annual conference earlier in the year when speaker after speaker told stories of how boxes had reached children, even in some of the world’s most remote places.

He added:

"The stories were so inspiring; many of those who work for Operation Christmas Child do so in really troubled, dangerous areas but they do so because they have a heart for the children.

That’s one of the messages that we, as a Christian charity, want to give out to the children. We want to tell them, and the communities where they live, that there is hope for better times."

Over the past couple of years, the Scarborough charity has held services where speakers have visited the town to tell first-hand accounts of how the receipt of a shoebox gift as a child acted as a gateway opening up a brighter future. 

Rob said:

"The proof of the pudding is in what we hear from people whose were touched by receiving a shoebox and how this brought joy and happiness into their lives by showing  them that there are many people in our world who care for them.

It shows them that family goes well beyond the limitations of borders, languages and culture. It shows them that people thousands of miles away - in places like Scarborough - offer them their love and do so in a practical way of giving. 

We think that is wonderful."

Operation Christmas Child’s national collection week is from November 11th-18th.

They have a national website which tells, in stories and on video, of the work of the charity and how they say lives can be changed. 

The website is: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/

The Scarborough team of volunteers have their own Facebook page, at https://www.facebook.com/charityshoeboxScarborough


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