As part of our mission at Greasby Methodist Church we have for many years taken part in the Christmas Shoebox Appeal.
We now fill and pack our boxes for T4U, started many years ago by Dave Cooke, which is based in Wrexham. Dave came to cafe church last year, to talk about all the work they do, not only delivering shoeboxes to the poorest children in Eastern Europe, but medical treatment in Uganda, holiday camps for orphans in Belarus, to the distribution of sanitary wear and education on menstrual health to schoolgirls in Africa.
The shoeboxes started off by people wrapping their own shoeboxes in Christmas paper, which you can still do today, but for the last 3 years, we have chosen to buy the ready made boxes that T4U offer. We pay 35p a box, and at Greasby we usually order 200 boxes every October. The advantage is that every child receives the same size box, and for busy parents, just picking up a box in our atrium on their way out of church, is quicker for them to fill.
We start by every box having a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of wrapped soap and a flannel as basics, then the fun begins. Always, pencil crayons and a notebook or colouring books, a cuddly toy, hats, gloves and scarves, tennis ball, a puzzle and small bags of wrapped sweets.
We never include war related items, such as toy soldiers, guns or tanks. Our shoebox service is usually held mid-November, the congregation bring their boxes up to the front of the church to be blessed by our minister, before they are taken to the warehouse in Birkenhead, to be checked before they start their long journey to Eastern Europe.
Many other Methodist churches in our Wirral Circuit also take part in our shoebox Appeal. The team makes a video that show the children receiving their boxes. The joy and wonder on their faces can be very emotional, as these children have absolutely nothing, life is a struggle every day. Last year 2019, the Wirral sent over 6,000 boxes, and ours went to Moldova, close to Romania.
Of course, 2020 is different in so many ways. People have been unable to visit the shops to buy presents but the knitters in the team have been knitting and making gifts all year round, so these helped enormously to fill the boxes. With news of the second lockdown, we had 48 hours to finish off the boxes, collect them all and take to the warehouse with hours to spare before the doors were locked!
We took 103 boxes and £150 in donations from our church on 4th November. The photo shows Rev Yangsun Yi blessing our boxes in the vestry, as this year we were not allowed to bring them into church with the Covid restrictions. We will never be able to see the face of the child who receives the box we have filled, but there is surely no greater way to show them God’s love in a Shoebox, and to know that someone, somewhere cares for them.
Lyn Jackson-Eves T4U Shoebox Co-ordinator