It’s not too late to fill a shoebox in Suffolk

THE people of Suffolk are being thanked by Operation Christmas Child for their kindness in donating more than 18,300 gift-filled shoeboxes for vulnerable children.

The shoeboxes have come from communities throughout the county, including Beccles, Bungay, Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Leiston, Lowestoft, Lakenheath, Newmarket, Southwold, Stowmarket and Sudbury.

Teams of Operation Christmas Child volunteers at the charity's processing centres in Ipswich and Sudbury checked and loaded the shoeboxes for their journey to Belarus.

The shoeboxes, packed with toys, educational items, sweets and other small gifts, will bring Christmas joy to children who are living in difficult conditions in orphanages, children's homes, street shelters and hospitals, or perhaps with their family but in conditions of poverty.

Regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, Gordon McCann, said: 'People here have been brilliant. Times are quite tough for many, but they have still gone out of their way to pack a shoebox. The encouraging comments our volunteers get when collecting shoeboxes from schools, churches, businesses, at drop-off points and from people handing them in at the warehouse, remind us there are many good, kind-hearted people out there.

'We see thoughtfulness from all ages and walks of life and it is very humbling. I wish each of these people could see the impact their shoeboxes have on the children who get them. It really makes a difference and brings joy and happiness to children who have very difficult lives.

'Although most of our lorries are already on their way, do not worry – you have not missed out! The good news is that we have a new online service that allows people to do a shoebox up to December 25.'

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l Go to Once the virtual shoebox has been created online – it's really easy – volunteers in our warehouses fill actual shoeboxes with the selected items and prepare them to be shipped to one of the destination countries where shoeboxes are given to children in need, for example around January 7 which is the Russian Orthodox Christmas.