‘Boxing’ day makes a real difference...

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FROM Leven to Belarus and Anstruther to Serbia, gift-filled shoeboxes from this area are among the 2600 being sent to underprivileged children this Christmas from Fife.

As part of Operation Christmas Child, one of the UK’s largest annual children’s charity projects, shoeboxes, which include gifts such as toys, toiletries and educational items, have been donated by individuals, schools, businesses, churches and other groups to try to spread a bit of festive joy to those less fortunate.

Teams of volunteers in the Operation Christmas Child processing centre have worked long hours collecting, checking and loading the shoeboxes for transportation before the process of delivery.

Fife’s regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, Chris Thomson, said: “It’s tremendous to see such kindness, particularly at a time when the economic downturn is hitting so many people.

“Everyone who has donated a shoebox can be absolutely certain it will have a very positive impact on the child who receives it.

“These children often receive nothing else at Christmas and many are living in really difficult situations, ranging from street shelters or orphanages to children’s homes or hospitals.

“Some do live with their families but, even then, we see children living in very harsh conditions, simply because the families are so poor.”

Mr Thomson added that, although it may be difficult for reasonably well-off families to understand, those receiving only a filled shoebox were incredibly appreciative.

Quite often, the underprivileged youngsters will also share gifts out with each other.

“We’ve had some great support from the public locally and from our volunteers who work so hard,” added Mr Thomson

“I wish everyone could see the smiles on the children’s faces when they get their shoebox – it makes you appreciate how the simple act of someone here sending a shoebox to an unknown child really is a very personal - and important - act of kindness.

“On behalf of Operation Christmas Child I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone in Fife who took part. It’s our 21st year and we are so grateful for every shoebox that has ever been donated – we know each one brings happiness to the child who receives it.”