Covid restrictions leave 10,000 Christmas shoeboxes stranded in borough
Some 10,000 shoeboxes filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys for children living in poverty are currently stranded at Kings Park Christian Centre in Leigh.
The shoeboxes have been packed and donated by Leigh residents and across the North West and were hoping to reach vulnerable children in Central Asia.
However, due to the ongoing changes in coronavirus restrictions there has been a shortage of volunteers, meaning the boxes are now delayed and unable to continue their journey.
Christmas shoebox project Operation Christmas Child is run by international children’s charity Samaritan’s Purse. The charity relies on an army of volunteers to process all the tailored and personalised shoeboxes, checking they adhere to customs regulations.
Tracy Berry, regional manager for Operation Christmas Child North West said: “2020 has been a strange year for all and so many things have been put on hold or even cancelled.
"So many people have packed these gifts even in the circumstances but at the moment there are thousands of shoeboxes with gifts that have been delayed, and currently still need processing.”
For many children who will receive them, the shoeboxes are the first gift they have ever received.
So Operation Christmas Child are hoping that they will be able to gather volunteers to get the boxes checked, processed and shipped in the new year.
Ms Berry said: “The pandemic has impacted so many around the world, yet these simple shoebox gifts bring hope and joy to the children that receive them. Our campaign relies on the love, time and generosity of our fantastic volunteers, without them we won’t be able to ensure these boxes arrive at their destination.
She added: "So, if you feel able and up for something different in the new year, please come help process these shoeboxes in a safe and fun way.”
Anyone who can volunteer to get the shoeboxes processed and sent off should visit: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/seasonal-processing/
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