Warehouse needed for Christmas shoebox project in Sheffield

Sandra received a shoebox packed with gifts
Sandra received a shoebox packed with gifts
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Volunteers in Sheffield who co-ordinate the annual Christmas shoebox appeal for children in deprived parts of the world need a temporary warehouse.

Samaritan's Purse runs the Operation Christmas Child shoebox project from Sheffield every year, where shoeboxes packed with gifts for children are checked and packed onto lorries bound for needy youngsters around the world.

On average around 18,000 boxes are processed in Sheffield every November and December, with warehouses normally offered free of charge by companies or landlords with space to spare.

But this year a warehouse has not yet been found.

Adam Tankard, regional manager for Samaritan's Purse, travelled to Rwanda last year to see the shoeboxes being handed out.

They are filled with gifts including toiletries, sweets, stationery, hats, gloves, scarves and toys.

"I brought a box all the way from Sheffield and decided to give it to a little girl called Sandra. She was a quiet girl who I was told had sadly been orphaned. Sandra sat holding on to her box, waiting until all the other children had received theirs," said Adam.

"When every child had a box, there was an amazing sense of anticipation and excitement in the tiny classroom where about 200 children had crammed in to collect their boxes.

"The shouts and squeals of pure excitement, joy and fun were incredible. Children were exploring the contents of their boxes, playing with their new toys and eating the little packets of sweets they had been given.

"It was very powerful to see children giving each other gifts from their own boxes and taking the little bars of soap they had been given to give to their mums as a present.

"I went up to Sandra to see that she was exploring her box. There were two differences from when I first saw her though, she had a huge smile on her face and she was proudly wearing the little tiara she had been given in her box. The joy that this brought to her was indescribable."

The warehouse needs to be a minimum of 8,000 sq ft, with access for an articulated lorry.

Anyone able to offer space should call Adam on 07973 437235.

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