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 anything.  This is 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. Operation Christmas Child (OCC) was born is now the largest children’s charity in the world.

Sending shoeboxes is a very practical way of showing God’s love to others and it’s amazing how much a simple gift can do for those who send them as well as those who receive them.  I know how much pleasure so many people get from buying small gifts, knitting scarves and hats etc., and putting a shoebox together. Might I please ask if you and your family and/or your place of work, club, organisation or business could collect the following items for our 2015 shoebox appeal?

  •  Shoeboxes: Please wrap in colourful wrapping paper if you can (but don’t worry if you can’t).
  • Toiletries: Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Soap, Flannels, Combs, Brushes.
  • Sweets: Such as Haribo, Starburst, Boiled Sweets but NOT chocolate!
  • Small Toys: Tennis Balls, Dominoes, Teddies!
  • Educational Equipment: Pens, Paper, Pencils, Colouring Books, Rubbers, Sharpeners.
  • Woollens: Hats, Scarves, Gloves.
  • Photographs: Or a Letter or a Card from the person/group who fill the shoebox.
  • Donations: Each shoebox costs £3 to deliver.

Please do not include: Used or damaged items; War related toys such as guns, play soldiers or knives; Liquids or lotions of any type including bubbles and medicines; Anything of a political, racial or religious nature; Sharp objects; glass containers, mirrors or fragile items; Playing cards of the 4-suit variety.

I’ve been greatly encouraged by the way many of you have supported OCC at Emmanuel (and other churches and schools in town) over the past few years. Your contribution, however small, is greatly appreciated.  We can arrange to pick these up or you can bring your collected items along to Emmanuel on Friday 13 November from 7.30 pm or Saturday 14 November from 10.00 am (and stay with us) for our ‘Shoebox Filling Extravaganza.’ May I also give you an invitation to our special ‘Shoebox Celebration Service’ on Sunday 15 November at 10.30 am (completed shoeboxes can also be brought along on these two days).  Leaflets are available from me/Emmanuel and you can find out more about OCC on their website here

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.  I’d be happy to come and speak with your group about my experiences, show some slides and tell some stories.

With every blessing in Jesus’ precious name