This is a copy of my article for the OCTOBER 2013 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’
Some of you may be familiar with the excellent work of Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and shoeboxes filled with presents for less fortunate children than our own across Europe.
Since 1990, over 100 million children and young people, worldwide, have been able to receive a Christmas gift that they would not have received because they live in extreme poverty or because they are orphaned or their parents are just too poor to buy them a Christmas present. A fantastic achievement from the simple idea of a friend of mine, Dave Cooke, a carpenter from Wrexham who was so deeply moved by the plight and images of children in the orphanages in Romania on TV in 1990 that he decided he had to do something about it. OCC was born to become what is now the largest children’s charity in the world.
Might I encourage you and your family (and/or your place of work/club/organisation/school) to join in with us this year and collect the following items over the next few weeks?
- Shoeboxes: We always seem to run out! (Please wrap these in colourful wrapping paper).
- Toiletries: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, flannels, combs, brushes.
- Sweets: Such as Haribo or boiled sweets but NO chocolate!
- Drawing Equipment: Pens, paper, pencils, colouring books, coloured pencils, rubbers, sharpeners.
- Woollens: Hats, scarves, and gloves.
You can bring them along to Emmanuel on Friday 15th November from 7.30pm onwards. Might I also invite you to join in with our ‘Shoebox Filling Extravaganza’ at Emmanuel from 10.00am on Saturday 16th November and our special ‘Shoebox Service’ at 10.30am on Sunday 17th November (completed shoeboxes can also be brought along on these days).
Your contribution, however small, would be much appreciated. I have been fortunate to help lead shoebox distribution teams to Belarus, Crimea and the Ukraine and I have seen, at first hand, the joy a simple shoebox ‘filled with love’ can bring.
Sending shoeboxes is a very practical way of showing God’s love to others. However, I think it’s worth remembering that shoeboxes have a two-way ministry. I know how much pleasure people get from buying small gifts and making things to make the shoebox complete. Leaflets are available at Emmanuel and you can find out more about OCC here www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk
I’d be happy to come and speak with you about my experiences, show some slides and tell some stories!