Operation Christmas child deadline is near

Christmas wrapping paper, loads of toys and lots of smiles are in evidence throughout Co Antrim as one of the UK’s biggest annual children’s charity projects, Operation Christmas Child, gets ready for its busiest day of the year – November 18.

That’s the final date for donors to hand in their gift–filled shoe boxes, which Operation Christmas Child then distributes to vulnerable children in over a dozen countries.

Last year, the total number of boxes sent from the UK was over 1 million and the charity is asking this time for a sports item to be included, if possible, as 2012 will see the Olympic Games held in the UK.

“It’s a busy but brilliant time for us,” explained Linda Thompson, Co Antrim regional manager of Operation Christmas Child, who helps to handle donations from all over the Larne borough.

“We’ve a great team of volunteers who are out and about collecting shoe boxes from schools, churches, businesses and organisations or who are checking and packing the shoe boxes in our warehouses for onward transportation to their destination,” she explained.

“This year anyone who goes on-line to donate the £2.50 contribution we request towards promotion, processing, UK transportation and shipping will be able to print off a barcode slip to put inside their shoe box. We will scan this and when the shoe box has entered the distribution system we will send an e-mail to the donor to tell them the country to which their shoe box is going.”

See the www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk or contact the Helpline on 0870 011 2002. The website also has a list of local Drop-Off Points where individuals can hand in their shoe boxes.