Children and young people from Durham Cathedral, with a little help from parents, grandparents and other volunteers, have once again shown their generous spirit this Christmas by filling over a hundred shoeboxes with gifts for those in need across Europe.
Each shoebox has been filled for either a family or an elderly person, and contains gifts of toiletries, warm accessories, stationery, toys, sweets and practical items such as reading glasses, wind-up torches, work gloves and hand-tools.
The shoeboxes will be hand-delivered to churches and communities in need across Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine by the charity Link to Hope. Each box is given to a family, or an elderly person or couple, who are in desperate need this Christmas. The 51 family boxes and 50 elderly boxes filled by the young people at the Cathedral will offer some welcome provisions to those who may often have to choose between food and fuel this Christmas. For many, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
Sunday School Leader, Esther Kisby, said: “The Cathedral’s children once again found great enjoyment in being part of this project, which also helped raise their awareness of people living in poverty. Working with Link to Hope has empowered our children to make a real, practical difference to the lives of those in need.
“The huge success of the appeal would not have been possible without the support and generosity of many in the Cathedral community and the Chorister School. Our thanks also go to Paul and the team at Clarks Outlet, Royal Quays, who supplied nearly all of the empty boxes; Durham Youth For Christ for donating exercise books for the family boxes; and Amigos (the University’s international student and staff group) for donating soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste for all of the boxes.”
After these shoeboxes have winged their way to Eastern Europe, the Cathedral turns its focus to collections for local children. At the Lighting of the Christmas Tree service on Sunday 18 December the Cathedral will be collecting gifts for local children, which are then distributed by the Salvation Army.