SHOEBOXES at the ready – Operation Christmas Child is back, and this year it has an Olympic-themed twist.
People across Ellesmere Port and Neston are being asked to get filling the boxes with gifts and sporty items as the appeal launches on Saturday.
Ian Taylor, Cheshire regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “We are one of the UK’s largest annual children’s charity projects, distributing more than one million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children at Christmas time last year.
“2011 is the 21st year of Operation Christmas Child and the level of support from across the county is vital to the continued success of the project and we know we can count on people’s big-heartedness even in difficult economic times.
“Last year more than 21,300 gift-filled shoeboxes were distributed to vulnerable children in Belarus, Bosnia, Crimea, Kenya, Kosova, Liberia, Romania and Serbia. It’s wonderful to think that we are a small part of such a large global project that is doing so much good for millions of children.
“With 2012 being an Olympic year we are asking supporters – old and new – to think about including some sporting items in their shoeboxes, as many children are inspired by sport even when life is hard.
“As well as supporters putting in welcome Christmas gifts and educational items, we hope that they may include something like a tennis ball, skipping rope, baseball hat, small football, inflatable beach ball, stop watch, sweat bands or other sports-related gifts. Also, the shoebox could be decorated with sports stickers or drawings.
Anyone wishing to participate should visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk or call the helpline on 0870 011 2002 for a set of instructions explaining what to do. A £2.50 contribution is requested toward promotion, processing, UK transportation and shipping and shoeboxes should be ready by November 18.