Generous county residents who have sent presents to under-privileged youngsters abroad have helped a national charity reach an impressive milestone.
Samaritan’s Purse, through Operation Christmas Child, has now delivered 100 million shoeboxes to needy children in more than 100 countries since 1990.
In Northamptonshire, nearly 10,000 gift-filled shoeboxes have been sent to vulnerable children in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. They were sent from the processing centres at Thrapston, Brixworth, Northampton and Towcester as part of the operation, which is one of the UK’s largest annual children’s charity projects.
Northamptonshire’s regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, Gordon McCann, paid tribute to all who had played their part.
He said: “I would like to thank the volunteers at our local collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift. For some of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.
“We’re so grateful that despite the hardship everyone is feeling people have really gone the extra mile this year to pack shoeboxes with love and because of that we’ve been able to reach our 100 millionth shoebox.”
Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington also praised the work of Operation Christmas Child volunteers across the country: “Well it’s absolutely amazing that over 6,000 volunteers have got engaged in helping us deliver these shoeboxes to countries around the world.
“Volunteers have been driving vans, processing boxes in warehouses, driving fork lift trucks, packing lorries simply because these people care about children overseas and it shows the spirit of Christmas is truly alive and well and working in every region of the country.
“It took us 23 years to reach our first 100 million, but the programme is still growing and each year more children around the world are receiving gift-filled shoeboxes. I’m confident we can achieve the next 100 million boxes in 10 years!”
Samaritan’s Purse is now asking all Northamptonshire residents to continue to make a difference to needy children around the world by supporting the 2013 Operation Christmas Child campaign.