South Tyneside Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal has been officially launched by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor John Wood and his wife Pat, to put smiles on the faces of poor children this Christmas.
Volunteers for the Operation Christmas Child appeal will soon be visiting dozens of schools in the Borough to encourage youngsters to collect shoeboxes full of gifts. These will be distributed to children in former Eastern bloc countries hit by poverty and war. Last year South Tyneside people collected almost 10,500 shoeboxes full of small gifts. This year the organisers hope to boost that figure to 11,000.
Organiser Carol Hall says: "If any schools, churches, companies or other organisations or an individual and wish to take part please telephone 428 1524, week days 10.30am to 3.00pm at 29 Grange Road in the Viking Centre, Jarrow which has been kindly donated by Phoenix Board.
She adds: "Special thanks must also go to 'Mary's Alterations' (Aztec Haberdashery) who kindly donated over £600 of ribbon as this can be used in many ways to help put smiles on children's faces."
The Deputy Mayor, Councillor John Wood says: "I am honoured to be involved in such a worthwhile charity. Christmas is for the children and this wonderful appeal brings happiness to many thousands of children who would otherwise face a bleak Christmas without a single gift. Pat and I will be making our own boxes and I hope many more generous people will take the time to help make a child smile this Christmas. Please help this campaign." The Shoebox Appeal 2003 South Tyneside Drop-Off Centres and opening times for filled boxes are as follows:
Shoebox Office 29 Grange Road West, Jarrow (Opposite Jarrow Town Hall) Tel: 428 1524 Monday to Friday: 10am to 3pm Saturdays: 10am to 1pm
Jarrow Community Centre Cambrian Street, Jarrow Tel: 489 4100 Monday to Friday: 10am to 10pm Saturdays: 10am to 1pm Sundays: 1pm to 10pm South Shields Town Hall Westoe Road, South Shields Tel: 427 1717 Monday to Friday only: 9am to 5pm
Also present were Sandra Reynolds, who distributed boxes in January 2003 in Moscow, and gave a moving talk of her experiences. Sandra is Area Representative for Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire.