Melton appeal to send toys to needy children at Christmas

Children in Uganda show their delight as they open shoeboxes filled with toys contributed by Operation Christmas Child EMN-151023-110024001

Children in Uganda show their delight as they open shoeboxes filled with toys contributed by Operation Christmas Child EMN-151023-110024001

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People in Melton are being asked to help needy children across the world this festive season by giving them unwanted toys in a shoebox.

The borough’s involvement in the national initiative called Operation Christmas Child has been launched with contributions to be dropped off at the town’s Fairtrading Post, in Market Place, between November 1 and 18.

The scheme, which has been running across the UK since 1990, is run by Samaritans Purse, a non-denominational Christian organisation which provides support and emergency relief to people around the world.

One of the organisers of the Melton effort, Phil Balding, said: “It’s a simple gift at Christmas that won’t cost a fortune to prepare, but it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to any child’s face.

“The idea is simple. Get an averaged-sized shoebox, decorate it with bright colours, fill it with some simple toys and then send it around the world to a child for Christmas.

“Each shoebox is an unconditional gift to a child who has not asked for anything.”

Once the boxes have been collected they will be delivered to distribution warehouses and then transported by teams of volunteers where they are needed.

Last year’s shoeboxes were sent to children in Serbia but they can also be taken to Romania or parts of Africa, for example.

Mr Balding added: “Since 1990 more than 113 million children in 130 countries have received gifts.

“Operation Christmas Child delivered its first shoebox to Romania 25 years ago and this amazing programme is still having an effect on the lives of needy children.”

For more information on what to pack in your shoebox, go online at www.samaritans-purse.org.uk or pick up a leaflet at the Fairtrading Post.