Newham sends boxes of gifts

Gift-filled shoeboxes from across Newham are heading for vulnerable children in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Romania and Ukraine as part of Operation Christmas Child.

The shoeboxes have been donated by individuals, schools, businesses, churches and organisations in communities from Beckton, Canning Town, East Ham, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Plaistow, Stratford, Upton Park and West Ham.

Teams of volunteers in the Operation Christmas Child processing centre at Woodford have worked long hours collecting, checking and loading the shoeboxes.

Carol Outlaw, Newham Regional Manager for the project, said: “It’s tremendous to see such kindness, particularly at a time when the economic downturn is hitting so many people. Everyone who has donated a shoebox can be absolutely certain that it will have a very positive impact on the child who receives it. These children often receive nothing else at Christmas and many are living in really difficult situations, ranging from street shelters or orphanages to children’s homes or hospital. Some do live with their families but even then we see children living in very harsh conditions, simply because the families are so poor.

“We’ve had some great support from the public locally and from our volunteers who work so hard. I wish everyone could see the smiles on the children’s faces when they get their shoebox - it makes you appreciate how the simple act of someone here sending a shoebox to an unknown child really is a very personal - and important - act of kindness.

“On behalf of Operation Christmas Child I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone in Newham who took part.”