While it may be too early for some to think about Christmas, villagers near Downham have urged ‘it’s never to too early to make a difference to children’s lives’.
Worshippers at St Mary’s Church in Denver, St Mary the Virgin in Bexwell and St Michael’s Church in Ryston have launched their annual shoebox collection to help spread Christmas joy to youngsters across the world.
They are now appealing for people to support their campaign, and help get as many shoeboxes filled with gifts before next month’s deadline.
The churches appeal is once again being held in support of the national Operation Christmas Child appeal, run by the Christian aid charity Samaritan’s Purse.
Last year the group managed to collect around 170 shoeboxes for the cause.
Organisers say gifts should be packed into a medium sized 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 and aged either two to four, five to nine or 10 to 14.
The Samaritan’s Purse has asked that each box contain a ‘wow’ toy, such as a doll, cuddly toy or deflated football with pump, and then filled with other fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies.
They could also contain a hat, gloves, scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewellery, and wrapped sweets with a sell-by date of at least March 2017.
Other foods and clothes, books, medicines, battery-operated items, glass and ceramics are among the items that should not be included.
The shoeboxes need to be dropped off at St Mary’s Church in Denver before October 30, so they can sorted and sent off to Operation Christmas Child in time.
Organisers of the appeal can also collect boxes, where necessary.
For more information, contact church member Hilda Bungay on 01366 383904 or visit: www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child