Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child Update

As the days grow longer it may seem strange to be thinking about Christmas! But I would like to encourage you to do just that, and specifically to think about putting together a shoebox filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).

OCC started in 1990 in Wrexham and was the brain-child of Dave Cooke and his family. The idea caught the imagination not only of the people of Wrexham but of the wider area including Merseyside. They had hoped to raise £5000 and take two trucks; the public response was such that when the convoy set off it consisted of 7 donated vehicles carrying over £500,000 of aid and gifts, including gift-filled shoeboxes.

Why shoeboxes you may ask? The original idea was to give a “Christmas stocking” to the children of Romania who were living in unimaginable conditions, and who may have never received anything, even love. The idea of putting the gifts into a shoe-box was a practical solution as transportation of stockings was so un-practical. Dave Cooke and his family wanted to share the love of Jesus and the joy of Christmas with children who had never been loved or experienced joy. Last year over 1.1 million shoeboxes were donated by the UK and given to children in 14 countries. OCC is now a global charity and in total over 81 million boxes have been given to children in 29 countries since 1990.

We continue to collect and distribute shoe-boxes to children who are in dire poverty. The only criterion that a child has to fulfil to receive a shoebox is that they are in need; all boxes are given unconditionally irrespective of nationality or beliefs.

Christmas may seem like a long way off but it really is never too soon to start collecting items to fill a box. If you have a school-aged child can I encourage you to ask if the school will be “doing boxes” this year? Often the first that parents hear about the campaign is when they find the OCC leaflet scrumpled up in the bottom of their child’s school bag during the Autumn half-term. This results in a mad panic to find and fill a shoebox!

Do you want to know more? Please contact our Area Coordinator, Margaret on 07708037969. You can also leave a comment or question on our “Wirral OCC” Facebook page. We are always happy to answer questions and we have trained CRB-checked speakers who are more than happy to speak to groups, small or large, about OCC. Please get in touch!

Contributed by Patricia Hardman