OPERATION Christmas Child is the world’s largest children’s Christmas project.
Often called ‘the shoe box appeal’, it is run by the Christian relief and development organisation the Samaritan’s Purse.
This year, shoe boxes are on their way from Cookstown to be given to children in Haiti and it may be the only Christmas present they receive.
Each year schools, clubs, churches and organisations ask their members to fill a shoe box with small gifts.
The items may include soft toys, pencils, notepads, toothbrushes, sweets and many other things beside.
For the last six years a collection of shoe boxes has been arranged in 1st Presbyterian Church, Cookstown.
Shoe boxes were donated by members of the congregation, by members of all sections in 1st Cookstown Scout Group, by members of Cookstown Methodist Church and friends. This year 135 boxes were dontated.
The local collection point for Cookstown is at Tubrid, near Kesh. There, in a Church hall up to 7,000 shoe boxes are assembled, checked and sorted into boy or girl and various age ranges.
Mrs Irene Boyd organises teams of helpers to do this stage of preparation before they are loaded into a container and sent off to their final destination.
Our congratulations to Irene who was awarded an MBE for her work over many years.
The project was started 22 years ago and in 2011, 1.12 million shoe boxes were sent from the UK to 14 countries around the world.