FUNDRAISERS have got Christmas all wrapped up.
The team at Operation Christmas Child have launched their shoebox appeal again for the 23rd year running.
And the six organisers are hoping to reach a target of 13,000 boxes again this year for needy children in Romania and the Ukraine.
Gail Watson, who helps to run the Sunderland branch of Operation Christmas Child, which is a project of the charity Samaritan’s Purse, said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone as people are tightening their belts, but the people in the North East always come up trumps.
“I think we might be a little bit short, but we are going to try.”
Internationally Operation Christmas Child exported its one millionth box last year.
Gail, of Rickleton, whose husband Roy took over running the Sunderland branch from predecessor Noreen Russell in 2002, added: “Last year was a record for the charity, but we were short by about 200,000 promised boxes.”
She added that a number of world disasters throughout the year will make the appeal even more difficult.
“Events such as the typhoon in the Philippines and the Syria crisis mean people are giving all the time, and there’s only so much people can give. But just the fact that Sunderland Council has given us the warehouse to use is brilliant, and we have 120 volunteers to help us package up the boxes.”
The charity is encouraging people to dig deep and help the youngsters, whose lives have been devastated by war, natural disasters and poverty.
“We ask for a warm item of clothing, a toy, toiletries and stationery,” said Gail. .
“They are the essentials that they need, and every child loves toys.”
It is hoped that shoeboxes will be exported to Romania and the Ukraine later this month and early December from the Sunderland warehouse.
Schools, churches, businesses and individuals are asked to donate and support the project.
Shoeboxes can be donated until Monday.
Sunderland and East Durham drop-off points for Opertation Christmas Child
Sunderland: Bethany City Church, Bede Tower, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR2 7EA.
Bridge Books and Music, 14 North Bridge Street, Sunderland, SR5 1AB
Shoezone, 60 High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3DP
Smith Shoes, 17 Sea Road, Sunderland, SR6 9BS.
The Entertainer, Unit 4/5 The Bridges, Sunderland SR1 3DR
Regus Centre, 4 Admiral Way, Doxford International Business Park, SR3 3XW
Washington: Centre Manager’s Office, Unit A, The Galleries, Washington, NE38 7SD
Shoezone, The Galleries, Washington, NE38 7RT
St. George’s Church, Vigo Lane, Washington, NE38 9AH
Peterlee: Peterlee Fire Station, Shotton Road, Peterlee, SR8 2FS
Shoezone, 3 Broadclose Court, Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Peterlee, SR8 1AJ