Magnificent Free Press and Spalding Guardian readers filled nearly 80 shoeboxes with treats as we joined forces with Rotary to spread a little happiness to some of the poorer counties of Eastern Europe.
Editor Jeremy Ransome and David Spenceley, president elect of the Rotary Club of South Holland, were busy loading up the boxes on Tuesday so they could go to a centre in Grantham before being transported to countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria.
Jeremy said: “Our readers have been truly amazing in the way they have responded to this appeal and we can’t thank them enough for their generosity.
“We know these gifts will mean the world to people who have few belongings to their name and very little in their lives that they can celebrate.
“We’re delighted to help Rotary and delighted these gifts will arrive in time for Christmas.”
David was also bowled over by our readers’ response.
He said: “We appreciate very much all of the efforts that people have put in because we understand that a lot of people who are helping out with shoeboxes are themselves financially squeezed at this time – and that makes their generosity all the more special.
“The appeal has gone very well this year and we are grateful to everyone who helped.”
More than 200 shoeboxes were collected across the Spalding area last year but this year the total is expected to be between 300-400 with Spalding Academy filling nearly 160, and contributions coming from St Norbert’s Roman Catholic Primary, St John’s Primary and Cowbit Primary.
Rotary’s shoebox initiative runs year-round but David says the South Holland club likes to give it a bigger push at Christmas.
Shoeboxes go to children of all ages, teenagers and adults, and are filled with things that we regards as everyday essentials but are real luxuries to some of the poorest people in Eastern Europe.
David said: “It gives them a bit of something at Christmas that they wouldn’t normally get and it helps them to know that people in the UK are thinking of them at Christmas time.”
Items in the boxes usually include things like toys, teddy bears, jigsaw puzzles, writing materials, hats, scarves and gloves, and things for the home.