Thousands of children will unwrap a Christmas Day present thanks to the generosity of people in Scarborough and along the Yorkshire Coast.
This year’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal has closed with 5,026 shoeboxes, packed full of gifts, already sent abroad from the East coast to be distributed to children in need.
A team of volunteers loaded shipments from a storage facility in Eastfield after picking up the boxes from collection points across Scarborough, Whitby, Driffield, Bridlington and in Ryedale.
‘We’re absolutely delighted the public supported us like they have,’ said area coordinator Graham Hobson. ‘It now means thousands of children will open a present at Christmas where otherwise they would not have been able to.’
He added: ‘The public in our area are so kind and have a compassionate heart towards this charity and our ongoing work for the children.’
Mr Hobson said the charity had faced many obstacles this year, not the least of them being the lack of a suitable warehouse facility in Scarborough to use as a processing centre.
‘It has been a difficult few weeks but our team of volunteers responded so well,’ said Mr Hobson.
The boxes will be handed out to children in hospitals, orphanages, schools and other centres by a network of local churches. The first shipment of shoeboxes from Scarborough was sent to Liberia in West Africa.
Mr Hobson stressed the shoeboxes are delivered throughout the world where there is need, regardless of the predominant religion of that country.
He said: ‘The boxes are sent to countries in the world where there are children in need and where there is a likelihood they may not receive a Christmas present.
‘That’s why this charity does what it does, and why it is supported, because we aim to put a smile on a child’s face at Christmas.’
Operation Christmas Child is operated by international humanitarian aid organisation Samaritan’s Purse.
In 2017, thousands of volunteers packed nearly 700,000 shoeboxes that were sent from the UK to children around the world.