Be Santa to a needy child this Christmas

OPERATION Christmas Child, the annual children’s charity campaign, launches in East Dunbartonshire on Saturday.

Organisers are looking to local supporters to continue with their generosity in providing shoeboxes filled with gifts for kids in poor countries overseas.

Scotland regional manager Chris Thomson said: “We are one of the UK’s largest annual children’s charity projects, distributing over one million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children at Christmas time last year. 2011 is the twenty first year of Operation Christmas Child and the level of support from across the county is vital to the continued success of the project and we know we can count on people’s big-heartedness even in difficult economic times.

“Last year we received shoeboxes from supporters in a wide range of communities, including Bearsden and Milngavie, and over 2,900 gift-filled shoeboxes were distributed to vulnerable children in Belarus and Crimea. It’s wonderful to think that we are a small part of such a large global project that is doing so much good for millions of children.

“With 2012 being an Olympic year, we are asking supporters - old and new - to think about including some sporting items in their shoeboxes, as many children are inspired by sport even when life is hard.

“As well as supporters putting in welcome Christmas gifts and educational items, we hope that they may include something like a tennis ball, skipping rope, baseball hat, a small football, inflatable beach ball, stop watch, sweat bands or other sports related gifts. Also, the shoebox could be decorated with sports stickers or drawings.

Delivered

“The shoeboxes donated by individuals, schools, churches, organisations and businesses are delivered direct to the hands of a needy child, making a real difference to them, and we are getting ready for another busy campaign in East Dunbartonshire.”

Operation Christmas Child is an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and development organisation, and anyone wishing to participate in this year’s campaign should visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk or contact the Helpline on 0870 011 2002.

A £2.50 contribution is requested towards promotion, processing, transportation and shipping and shoeboxes should be ready by November 18.