The dreaded “C” word reared its ugly and somewhat early head at the Capel Ladies meeting on September 4th! The lady who uttered it was our speaker for the evening, Marilyn Coates, and she was telling us about “Operation Christmas Child”. This is the world’s largest children’s Christmas project, run by the Christian relief and development organisation Samaritan’s Purse.
Their mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Included with each shoebox, where appropriate, their church partners in each country may offer a little booklet of Bible Stories. However, shoeboxes are always given to children based on need, regardless of their background or religious beliefs, there are no strings attached to these gifts.
Each year a different country is chosen as the destination for all the shoeboxes. To date, recipients have included children in Swaziland, Ukraine, The Philippines and Belarus. Sometimes countries are chosen because they have experienced natural disasters or war, where families have lost everything, and sometimes the children are living in poverty. Whatever the situation, these gifts are for needy children who really enjoy and appreciate them.
To take part, shoeboxes and their lids must be covered with Christmas wrapping paper and filled with suitable items, depending on the age and sex of the child you intend them for, plus a cash donation of £3 to cover the cost of sending the boxes overseas. The organisation uses space in lorries which have brought goods to this country from elsewhere in the world and are travelling back empty. The lorries pick up cartons of shoeboxes from local depots where volunteers have checked and packed them. Locally we have a depot at Bentley, in the polytunnels at Woodview Nurseries, so if you feel able to fill a shoebox or two you can take them along there from November 12th. Last year over 13000 shoeboxes were sent out from Suffolk, perhaps this year the total going to Serbia will be even higher !
For anyone who would like to fill a shoebox and donate £3, please go to the website for details of how to do this.
Future meetings at Capel Ladies include a talk from a Human Rights Lawyer who works for Amnesty International, a talk and slideshow about China and an evening with Phoenix Handbell Ringers.