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Little boxes bring great joy

A small donation can have a big impact on the children who receive their Christmas shoeboxes. Pic: courtesy
A small donation can have a big impact on the children who receive their Christmas shoeboxes. Pic: courtesy


Geoff Helisma

The Combined Churches Ladies Fellowship of Maclean has commenced its 10th Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Appeal and, if past years are a gauge, this year’s appeal will continue on its record breaking way.
It was 2005 when the fellowship accepted an invitation to sponsor the Queensland arm of Samaritan’s Purse in Australia’s collection in the Lower Clarence.
The appeal, coordinator Glenys Irons says, gives Lower Clarence residents “the power to make a child living in poverty’s Christmas something to celebrate”.
“In 2005 we collected 266 boxes,” Glenys says. “Since then, our collection has grown every year, until in 2014 we sent 734 boxes, which were part of the distribution to children in PNG through the Australian/New Zealand outreach to children in Southeast Asian countries.”
According to the Operation Christmas Child website, “every year, people of all ages, families, churches, schools and businesses pack shoeboxes with gifts.
“Globally, more than 125 million shoeboxes have been given to kids in need in more than 130 countries since 1993.
Glenys says that the boxes are distributed to “children who have never before received a gift, who have probably never owned anything – unused, fresh and new, these boxes really are a wondrous surprise”.
“The impact these little boxes have in the lives of children, families and whole communities in some of the poorest regions in the world is simply amazing.
“Like a child who has never owned shoes, receiving a pair of thongs; which is a miracle for them.
“Children who have never had toys, receiving a ball, a bag of balloons, marbles or a whistle … and many other things our imagination can provide; it is truly wonderful for them.”
The appeal runs until the beginning of the September school holidays.
Shoeboxes and leaflets are available at Riverland Travel in Maclean, the Presbyterian Op Shop in Yamba, or contact coordinator Glenys Irons on 6646 4296 or 0429 184 611.
Filled boxes should be delivered to Riverland Travel before the end of the school term.
A small donation of $9 (in an envelope) or more should be included, too. This covers the costs of printing, storage and import duties.
“Every part of our community has been involved in this generous effort,” says Glenys. “From churches, schools, businesses and private citizens; to pre-school children to grandmas – this truly is an appeal in which every person can take an active part.”
The next meeting of the Combined Churches Ladies Fellowship will be held in the Uniting Church Peace Hall, Maclean at 1.30pm on Wednesday September 10.
“All ladies are very welcome to come and meet each other,” Glenys says.