Thousands of Christmas shoeboxes packed with gifts and love from Grimsby are ready to roll

Thousands of shoeboxes crammed with toiletries, toys, stationery and stacks of love will soon be heading from Grimsby to put a smile on the faces of needy children. Many of the children in war torn countries and areas affected by disasters and disease have never received gifts, say organisers of Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. Dozens of volunteers prepared the gifts at Grimsby’s Ice House ready for delivery to Moldova, Albania and Liberia.

Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse processing centre manager, Ellie Davis told how the charity had delivered 163 million shoeboxes of gifts since it began in 1990. Some of the poverty-stricken recipients are living in sewers to keep warm or in woods under tarpaulin.

Volunteers at the launch of the Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal for 2019, at the Ice House, Grimsby

In Grimsby the boxes of gifts have been prepared for delivery thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers. Each has stationery items including pens and pencils and toiletries, toys and warm clothing.

Ellie thanked Cleethorpes Pavers Shoes shop and Clarks for donating thousands of empty shoe boxes. She and the volunteers spend all year preparing the boxes and wrapping them with Christmas paper. Every Wednesday throughout the year up to 40 volunteers spend hours wrapping boxes.

Boxes are collected at The Ice House from groups stretching between Sleaford and Scarborough and Scunthorpe and Woodhall Spa. “I have been to Romania five times and it is heartbreaking to see how some of these children live. They are most adorable and appreciative kids.

When we sent the shoeboxes to Africa the children thought they were for drumming. But when they opened them and saw the gifts they were overwhelmed. Many do not understand why they are receiving the gifts.

We are seeing so many children who have never received a gift in their life,” Ellie told Grimsby Live.

The mayor of North East Lincolnshire, councillor councillor Terry Walker and mayoress, councillor Hazel Chase, pictured with volunteers at the launch of the Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal for 2019, at the Ice House, Grimsby

She added: “Without our wonderful volunteers we could not do this. They check each box and make sure they have our Samaritan’s Purse seal so each country knows the boxes have been checked. “We could not do it either without the support of Jonathan Dibden who provides the space at The Ice House and Mark Harris from the management.

The staff are extremely helpful.” She also thanked DB cash and carry of Grimsby for their donations and WR Material Handling of Pyewipe for a forklift truck and driver to load vehicles to take the Christmas shoeboxes. Bell Waste also helped with the cardboard disposal.

Area co-ordinator Denise Johnson thanked Neil and Nicola Pattison of Tape2Tape events for donations of medals and T-shirts. She also thanked Blakemore Retail and Spar shop chain for donations. Places where shoeboxes can be donated are at Raffles hair salon, Waltham, Scartho Eyecare, on Waltham Road, Tesco Extra, Hewitts Avenue and Victoria Street, Grimsby, CARE shop Alexandra Road, Cleethorpes, Entertainer, Freshney Place Grimsby  and Brigg Garden Centre.

 Thousands of Christmas shoeboxes packed with gifts and love from Grimsby are ready to rollVolunteers in action at the Ice House, Grimsby

Donations can be received at The Ice House on Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Wednesdays from 10am to 8pm.

On Saturdays donations can be left between 10am and 3pm. Ellie said the charity is desperately in need of men to lift the boxes on to trucks. Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Terry Walker was given a tour of the Grimsby centre to see the volunteers in action.

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