10,000 Christmas shoeboxes filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys for children living in poverty are currently stranded at Kings Park Christian Centre in Leigh, Greater Manchester.
The shoeboxes have been packed and donated by residents of Leigh and across the region, and were hoping to reach vulnerable children in Central Asia.
However, due to the ongoing changes in coronavirus restrictions there has been a shortage of volunteers, meaning the boxes are now delayed and unable to continue their journey unless more volunteers can come forward.
Christmas shoebox project Operation Christmas Child is run by international children’s charity Samaritan’s Purse.
Since 1993, the charity has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
The charity relies on an army of volunteers to process all the tailored and personalised shoeboxes, checking they adhere to customs regulations.
For many children who will receive them, these shoeboxes gifts are the first gift they have ever received, and so Operation Christmas Child are hoping that they will be able to gather volunteers to get the boxes checked, processed and shipped in the new year.
“2020 has been a strange year for all and so many things have been put on hold or even cancelled,” says Tracy Berry from Operation Christmas Child North West.
“So many people have packed these gifts even in the circumstances but at the moment there are thousands of shoeboxes with gifts that have been delayed, and currently still need processing.
“The pandemic has impacted so many around the world, yet these simple shoebox gifts bring hope and joy to the children that receive them.
“Our campaign relies on the love, time and generosity of our fantastic volunteers, without them we won’t be able to ensure these boxes arrive at their destination.
“So, if you feel able and up for something different in the new year, please come help process these shoeboxes in a safe and fun way.”
If you are able to volunteer your time to help get the shoeboxes processed and sent off to vulnerable children, you can find out more here: samaritans-purse.org.uk.