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Shoebox appeal's urgent call for gifts following slow start

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

Paul and Elizabeth Genders with Rob Gillingham

Paul and Elizabeth Genders with Rob Gillingham are hoping to receive many gifts to go in shoeboxes as Clevedon Christadelphians run their annual Operation Christmas Child appeal

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Organisers of an annual Christmas shoebox appeal in Clevedon are appealing for people to get behind the cause – after only a few boxes were handed in.

Clevedon Christadelphians has set up a collection point at its church hall at Coleridge Vale Road for the Samaritan’s Purse annual Operation Christmas Child.

The drop-off point opened at the beginning of the month but so far only 25 goodie-packed shoeboxes have been donated – compared to 150 boxes over the same period last year.

Overall the appeal last year collected 270 boxes, all of which were sent to support needy children in Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

The collection point – the only one in the northern part of North Somerset – closes on Sunday, November 18.

Organisers are now appealing for local residents, businesses and community groups to get behind them and donate goods for the appeal.

Clevedon Christadelphians treasurer Rob Gillingham said: “Last year we had 270 shoeboxes donated during the three weeks the drop off was open.

“But this year so far we have only received 25.

“This is disappointing.

“We are now appealing for the local community to get behind us and take the time to fill a shoebox for the appeal.

“These gifts make such a difference to the children who receive them.

“We are hoping that by making an appeal for help we will have a surge of shoeboxes brought in to the collection point before it closes this week.”

People are being asked to fill shoeboxes with items including toys, dolls, pens, paper and colouring books as well as hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste and hairbrushes, combs and flannels and soap.

Those wanting to get involved can also pack sweets, gloves, scarves and items such as hats, bangles and necklaces.

All items should be new and each box should include an item from each category and should be marked whether it is for a girl or boy and what age range – two to four, five to nine and 10-14-years-old – it is suitable for.

Foods such as chocolate cannot be packed, along with medicine, fragile items, aerosols or clothing.

Over the past 22 years, Operation Christmas Child has delivered 94 million shoeboxes to needy children in over 100 countries

For a full list of what can go in the shoeboxes and details of opening times of the Clevedon drop off point, visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk.

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  • alexsdutton  |  November 15 2012, 8:35PM

    This article fails to mention that Samaritan's Purse is an evangelical Christian charity, which puts proselytism above humanitarianism. They're on the record as saying that if they had to choose between funding and evangelism, they would forgo the funding (http://tinyurl.com/bgaaval). Their own promotional video (http://tinyurl.com/arswdzd) says that the boxes "are a segue, opening the door to teach these children about Jesus", which they achieve by offering a follow-up "Greatest Journey" discipleship programme. In 2010-2011 they claim to have converted 266,000 children to Christianity. They've been reprimanded by the US Agency for International Development for holding prayer meetings immediately before showing people how to build shelters (http://tinyurl.com/ava5759). The charity provides abstinence-based interventions in an attempt to combat HIV/AIDS, when there are unequivocally better approaches (e.g. safe-sex education and condom use); their faith-based approach is actively reducing the good they seek to do, and that is wrong. If you want to help people choose another, more effective charity campaign, like Oxfam Unwrapped, or Aquabox. These charities provide *practical* assistance, and their first priority is humanitarianism, not cultural imperialism.

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