Christmas dreams can come true in Romania

Posted On September 29, 2007

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It may only cost a few pounds to fill but a wrapped shoebox will make a child’s dreams come true this Christmas. Operation Christmas Child aims to send thousands of shoeboxes from Cumbria to Eastern Europe this year.

The small gifts will bring happiness and hope to a deprived child who would otherwise have no Christmas presents. To understand exactly how much the shoeboxes mean to the children of Eastern Europe, South Cumbria coordinator Rosemary Webster followed a delivery from the Kendal distribution centre to Odessa in the Ukraine.

There she met Andrew whose father is blind and cannot work. Mrs Webster said: “Andrew opened his shoebox and found a small green truck. His face lit up and he was very excited. He said something to the Russian translator, who turned to me and explained: ‘Andrew said that this truck is what he has always dreamed of’. Andrew then said to me: ‘Thank you, it is beautiful’. This was just a small green truck and yet it gave such immense delight.

“Despite improvements in living standards in much of Eastern Europe there is still a great deal of poverty. Children are living in the streets and sleeping underground in the sewerage and hot water system. The simple idea of a shoebox does not lift these children out of poverty, but it brings great joy and shows the children that they are not forgotten.”

Last year 9,852 shoeboxes were sent from South Cumbria to the Ukraine. This year the boxes will go to Romania. North West spokesman for Samaritan’s Purse International, which runs the appeal, Ian Taylor, said: “I can’t fault the people in the North West for their generosity. When you see these children and get the privilege of handing a shoebox to them you realise what this box contains. It’s more than just a gift. It ultimately gives them hope.”

To make a real difference this Christmas wrap a shoebox, box and lid separately, and fill it with small toys and games, colouring books and crayons, sweets, a scarf and hat, facecloth and soap, toothpaste and brush and any other little gifts suitable for a child. There are three age groups to choose from: two to four, five to nine and 10 to 14, either boy or girl. Boxes can be personalised with a card and a photo and £2 needs to be added to a box to help with transport and administration costs.

Leaflets, with further details, can be obtained by ringing Samaritans Purse on 0870 011 2002 or by logging on to

Kendal’s distribution centre will be open between November 4 to 20. There will be further details regarding local collection points nearer the time. All schools, churches and other organisations are welcome to take part, as well as individuals.