WITH the Christmas countdown under way, the spirit of giving is alive and well in Sheffield.
Thousands of boxes filled with goodies have been collected from schools, churches, community groups and businesses across the city as part of this year’s Operation Christmas Child.
The campaign, which asks residents to think of those less fortunate during the festive season and donate shoeboxes full of gifts, has already racked up a total of 10,000 boxes – with many more to come.
Charity workers have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have prepared and wrapped hampers of toys, gifts and useful items.
The parcels have been delivered to the operation warehouse in Dronfield, where a team of 30 volunteers are hard at work preparing them to be sent to underprivileged youngsters in Eastern Europe.
Alan Titman, co-ordinator of Sheffield’s Operation Christmas Child, said: “We’ve been collecting the boxes in for the past fortnight.
“There are 10,000 and about three or four thousand are ready for processing. We’ve probably got about 100 volunteers on our database and between 20 and 30 turn up each day to help out. We try to make each box as full as possible for every child.
“Sheffield always gets a great response.”
Charity Samaritan’s Purse has launched an eleventh-hour appeal and is asking the people of South Yorkshire to help it reach its target of helping more than a million children this Christmas.
Boxes can be dropped off at Shoe Zone shops in Meadowhall and Crystal Peaks shopping centres or Haymarket in Sheffield, The Mall, Barnsley and Effingham Street, Rotherham, before Monday.
Keith Gibbons, regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “Everything can be done online, even up until Christmas Eve, and we’ll do the rest to ensure each shoebox will make a big difference to a child in need.”
Simon Barrington of Samaritan’s Purse UK, said: “We want to remind the children of the world that, whatever their circumstances, we are thinking about them this Christmas.”
n Visit The Star’s Christmas guide, at The Star Christmas