AN MP has paid tribute to volunteers who give their time to pack shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for children across the world.
Shaun Bailey, the MP for West Bromwich West, visited the Operation Christmas Child Processing Centre in Oldbury last week, where he filled shoeboxes, met staff, and greeted volunteers.
Last year, 300 volunteers at the warehouse, on Demuth Way, Oldbury, packed around 50,000 shoeboxes which were sent to children in need across Eastern Europe, Africa, and Central Asia as part of global charity’s Samaritan’s Purse huge outreach appeal. This year the organisation aims to distribute nine million Christmas shoeboxes globally.
The warehouse also turned into a Covid response centre during the pandemic, distributing 200,000 pieces of PPE to more than 400 churches and charities across the UK.
Mr. Bailey said:
It was great to meet with the team today at Operation Christmas Child based in Oldbury. This fantastic group of volunteers are able to provide hope and joy to children who are sometimes lost or forgotten in amongst the very ‘adult’ situations that are faced daily, both here at home, in the UK, and worldwide. This is something they should all be very proud of.
Samaritan’s Purse is recruiting volunteers for this year’s Oldbury drive, where they hope to fill another 50,000 in the run-up to Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child’s Nick Cole said:
We couldn’t do the amazing work we do without our volunteers. We are glad that our MP was able to attend, pack some shoeboxes and see how hard everyone has been working to make Christmas a better time for so many children across the world.
We’ve occupied our warehouse since 2017 and it keeps getting busier every year. Last year our ‘fill a shoebox online’ project was even more popular, where people could choose which items they wanted online, make a £20 donation, and then our volunteers on site would fill the boxes accordingly.
Since 1990, millions of children in 170 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. We are so grateful that through the volunteers at our Oldbury warehouse, we can pack so many in the UK and put a smile on the faces of children around the world.
Volunteer warehouse manager Sue Tindall added:
Volunteering with Operation Christmas Child is a really joyful and practical thing that anyone can do. Everyone here in Oldbury is really friendly and l love coming because by giving some time, l can make a difference to children overseas who live in very difficult situations.
National Collection Week for the shoeboxes is November 15-22, and Samaritan’s Purse is appealing for more volunteers who can check and export the shoeboxes donated and dropped off at collection points around the country that week. The Oldbury depot will welcome volunteers from November 22 to December 18.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk
Written By: Matthew Murray