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17,800 shoeboxes sent to needy children

PUBLISHED: 13:53 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:00 01 August 2010

THANKS to the kindness of people throughout Suffolk, including Beccles and Bungay, over 17,800 shoeboxes full of presents have been sent to children facing difficult lives in several countries.

THANKS to the kindness of people throughout Suffolk, including Beccles and Bungay, over 17,800 shoeboxes full of presents have been sent to children facing difficult lives in several countries.

The shoeboxes have been sent by Operation Christmas Child and have been donated by members of the public, schools, companies, churches and organisations from communities across the county.

The shoeboxes were checked in the Operation Christmas Child processing centres at Ipswich and Sudbury and are being sent to children in Belarus, Crimea, Serbia and Ukraine.

“On behalf of Operation Christmas Child and all our volunteers, I just want to send a huge thank you to every single person who donated a shoebox this year,” said regional manager Gordon McCann. “This has been a hard year for many people in Suffolk, and we are just knocked out by the fact so many of them have put together a shoebox. It has such a positive effect on the child that receives it and I want everyone here to know that their gifts make a real difference.”

When they arrive in the destination country the shoeboxes are distributed on the basis of need by local organisations, charities and churches to children aged between two and 14, many living in orphanages, street shelters, hospitals, displaced persons camps or whose families are facing hardship due to poverty.

Ian Macleod, head of operations and logistics for Operation Christmas Child, said: “The last lorry loads of shoeboxes from the UK are just heading off now and, while we are still tallying up the final numbers, we will be distributing over 1.1 Million donated shoeboxes, a quite outstanding figure.

“The caring nature of so many people has been particularly important this year because many of the countries to which we take the shoeboxes are having a harsh time as a result of the global recession - worse than the UK.

“I would like to add my thanks to everyone in Suffolk who has taken part in Operation Christmas Child - you really have made Christmas better for many, many children.”

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