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South Holland Rotary Club's shoebox appeal makes promising start

Lincolnshire Free Press readers are opening their hearts again to families less fortunate than themselves after an immediate response to this year's Rotary Shoebox Appeal.

The first shoeboxes, filled and ready to brighten the lives of youngsters thousands of miles away in Eastern Europe, have started to arrive from the South Holland community at our office in Spalding.

Schools in the area are also coming forward to join in the effort to pack shoeboxes full of clothing, toys, stationery, toiletries and other small items to be sent to babies, children, teenagers and elderly people in Belarus, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

David Spenceley, of South Holland Rotary Club, with empty shoeboxes ready to be filled by readers and schools.
David Spenceley, of South Holland Rotary Club, with empty shoeboxes ready to be filled by readers and schools.

But there is still plenty of time for you to get involved in the appeal, run by the Rotary Club of South Holland, as the deadline for shoeboxes to be returned is not until Monday, November 16.

David Spenceley, appeal co-ordinator and a past president of South Holland Rotary Club, said: "Times are tricky for everybody in the UK, but they are especially tricky as well for those in Eastern Europe who haven't got a great deal.

"So I'd imagine in the current climate that children who get the boxes will be even more grateful this year, which has been out of kilter for everybody, more than in any other year.

"I've had enquiries from two schools, Cowbit St Mary Primary School and University Academy Holbeach, where I'm hoping to send shoeboxes round to them.

"I'm also waiting on replies from two more primary schools in the area to see whether they can do it or not.

"If we can bring a little bit of cheer to somebody else, it just shows that we're trying to pull through this strange time."

Last year, Free Press readers managed to fill nearly 30 shoeboxes with gifts for delighted recipients in Eastern Europe.

Primary and secondary schools in South Holland also answered the call for help, providing nearly 500 shoeboxes filled by students, staff and parents.

More than 200 were donated by Spalding Academy alone and staff member Amanda Halifax said: "During the autumn half term, we challenged every form group in school to fill at least one shoebox, meaning that we would fill at least 60 boxes.

"The form groups could select any of the categories of people to help and then each young person, in each of the form groups, was responsible for bringing an item or two into school to help fill their shoebox.

"In just under three weeks of running the scheme, thanks to the amazing support from staff and students, we managed to fill in excess of 200 shoeboxes with gifts for babies, children, teenagers, families and senior citizens.

"As a school, we hope this is an initiative we can support each year and, hopefully, strive to fill more shoeboxes."

This year, to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, once the shoeboxes are filled and collected, they will be stored for 72 hours before delivery to the area's distribution centre in Grantham for shipping to Eastern Europe.

As a result, readers are asked not to food or other perishable goods in the shoeboxes.

Also, to help with delivery costs, please attach a £2 contribution to each shoebox to cover delivery costs.

. Empty shoeboxes are available now to collect from the Lincolnshire Free Press office in 4 Francis Street, Spalding.

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