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Boxes of joy in transit

cvi   There are thousands of shoe boxes being processed at the Samaritan’s Purse warehouse in Brisbane and, among those, there are 680 boxes from the Lower Clarence. The shoe boxes are filled with useful and fun Christmas gifts and are bound for children living in poverty in the Southeast Asian region. This is the 10th year that the Combined Churches Ladies Fellowship of Maclean has conducted its Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Appeal for the Operation Christmas Child initiative. According to the Operation Christmas Child website, “Globally, more than 125 million shoeboxes have been given to kids in need in more than 130 countries since 1993.” The Lower Clarence appeal’s coordinator, Glenys Irons, praised the contributions made by various parts of the community. “It really is a wonderful experience, to be part of this great community effort, with so many people all working together to get our boxes to children who have never before received a gift of any kind,” she said. “This year thousands of children will get an unexpected Christmas gift – their own ‘miracle in a box’ – full of simple things that tell these forgotten children that ‘somebody cares that I’m here and is thinking of me’. “Thank you to the new team of six ladies, all from different denominations, who came together to pack this great collection.” Glenys said that “churches, schools, businesses and members of the community” contributed filled-boxes and that Chatsworth Island Primary and Pacific Valley Christian schools donated books, “which will go to schools in countries where English is not the first language”. “Cash donations helped with the costs involved in processing and shipping the boxes: everything given was useful and thankfully received,” she said. “The Presbyterian op shop in Yamba and Riverland Travel in Maclean were our collection depots –Judy, Monica and girls from Riverland Travel were enthusiastic assistants in the whole operation – and the Maclean ACE store acted as an agent. “Bloomers Transport from Grafton generously transported our 50 large cartons, free of charge, from Maclean to the Samaritan’s Purse depot in Brisbane; and Maclean Cellars donated the forklift to load the truck and a team of willing blokes, who got the shipment ready for pick-up. “No opportunity is lost to make sure that our ‘boxes of love’ are gifts that keep on giving.”