London Olympics

Olympic sporting theme for Christmas shoebox campaign

10 October 2011

London OlympicsIt’s that time again! The Operation Christmas Child campaign has just been launched to encourage people in our area to put together a shoebox full of small gifts and toiletries to send to a disadvantaged child overseas. And this year, to tie in with the UK Olympic year, the charity are encouraging anyone donating a box of gifts to include something of a sporting nature – tennis balls, inflatable balls or maybe a skipping rope?

Every year the Christian organisation, Samaritan’s Purse, run a shoebox giving scheme known as Operation Christmas Child. The scheme encourages individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses, and other organisations to wrap empty shoeboxes with Christmas paper and fill them with small toys, school supplies, sweets, soap, toothpaste and toiletries and they are then sent to disadvantaged children all over the world – children that would otherwise not receive a Christmas present due to their circumstances.

Last year the UK alone sent over one million boxes to children in hospitals, orphanages, displaced persons camps, homeless shelters and impoverished neighbourhoods. This year the charity celebrate their 21st anniversary they are hoping the generous people of Harrogate and Ripon will support them once again.

This year the local organisers are appealing not only for completed shoeboxes but also for churches, schools, businesses or organisations in our are to consider being a temporary ‘drop off point’ so that people in their immediate district can drop off completed boxes ready for the charity to collect. It is also hoped to have another Harrogate ‘sorting warehouse’ in the run up to Christmas where volunteers will be very welcome to help check and seal the thousands of boxes brought in from our area before they are shipped abroad.

Local organiser Jan Harris says:

Something as simple as a shoebox carefully packed with a few inexpensive items such as soap, pens a toy and a toothbrush can make such an enormous difference to a child who has never had a Christmas present.

Please encourage your children or grand-children, your school, church, workplace or local organisation to fill a shoebox this year if you can and if you feel you would like to be either a drop off centre this year or help with the checking of the boxes, please do get in touch.

Leaflets explaining exactly what to pack in a gift shoebox (and what not to include) can be ordered or simply downloaded from If you would like to know more or would like to help the campaign during October or November, please call Jan Harris on 07932 477005 or email Jan on

The deadline for completed boxes to be handed in to a drop off point (or collected by Jan and her team) is Friday 18th November but completed boxes are welcome well before this date.

Your nearest drop off point can be found on or contact Jan on the above number if you would like a supply of free leaflets, posters or DVDs.

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