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Children's charity seeks gifts

PUBLISHED: 11:27 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:39 01 August 2010

OPERATION Christmas Child is calling on individuals and families in Suffolk to save their spare change over the next five weeks and use the resulting sum to buy gifts to put into a shoebox to send to disadvantaged children helped by the charity in several overseas countries.

OPERATION Christmas Child is calling on individuals and families in Suffolk to save their spare change over the next five weeks and use the resulting sum to buy gifts to put into a shoebox to send to disadvantaged children helped by the charity in several overseas countries.

Gordon McCann, regional manager of Operation Christmas Child in Suffolk, said: “The shoeboxes are going to be even more important this year because of the impact of the global recession. We are very aware of the effect of the downturn on families here at home, but there are many vulnerable children and orphans we are seeking to support in countries where difficult situations have been made even worse by the recession. For example, in Kosova the unemployment rate is now over 40pc and about 37pc of the population lives in poverty on an income of less than £1.25 a day. Over 17pc live in extreme poverty, with a daily income less than 85 pence.

“If people here can put aside any spare change over the next five or six weeks it would build up a sum that they can use to buy gifts to put in a shoebox that Operation Christmas Child will then give to a child living in difficult circumstances. The kindness of people here in giving gifts has been a beacon of light in past years - this year we are confident it will shine even brighter in spite of the recession.

“Lots of us have small change lying about doing nothing and a simple suggestion is for people to take their spare coins to a supermarket which has a cash counting machine and in seconds this will count the loose change and give the customer a voucher. They can then use this to buy gifts for a shoebox. Simple gifts like crayons and a colouring book, pens, pencils and a sharpener, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a soft toy and a ball make a huge difference to a child who has nothing. Many live in orphanages or street shelters, are in hospital or are living with families experiencing real hardship.

“A family here - or a group of friends or work colleagues - can share the joy of choosing gifts to send to boys or girls who will receive their shoeboxes. It really means something to these children.”

Operation Christmas Child will be accepting shoeboxes up until November 18 before commencing onward transportation and then distribution for which a £2.50 contribution is requested to help cover costs.

Visit the website http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/, click on 'Where to take your boxes' and enter your postcode; this will give the nearest drop off point where people can take their shoeboxes. Alternatively, call the Helpline on 0870 011 2002.

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