Denver churchgoers launch Shoebox appeal

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Residents in a village near Downham are gearing up to send dozens of boxes of Christmas joy to youngsters abroad and they are hoping you can help them.

Worshippers at the St Mary’s Church in Denver are currently preparing their annual collection in support of Smile International.

And they are hoping others will join them in helping to make the festive season magical for disadvantaged youngsters overseas.

The charity currently works in six countries around the world: Romania, Albania, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Organisers say gifts should be packed into a lady’s shoe box with the box and lid separately covered in Christmas wrapping paper and secured with two rubber bands.

The boxes should also be labelled for a boy or girl aged two to four, five to 10 or 11 to 14.

Typical contents are a flannel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush or comb, notebook, pens and pencils (include a sharpener and eraser), colouring book and crayons, hat, gloves, scarf, socks, small toy such as a doll, skipping rope, puzzle or game and a small bag of wrapped sweets with a sell-by date of at least June 2015.

Other foods and clothes, books, medicines, battery-operated items, glass and ceramics are among the items that should not be included.

Boxes should be brought to the church by Monday, October 27, at the latest so they can be distributed. Organisers of the appeal can also collect boxes, where necessary.

For more information, phone Hilda Bungay on 01366 383904 or visit www.smileinternational.org.

Supporters can also make a donation to sponsor a shoebox via the above website or by phoning 01689 883325.