Christmas Box Appeal - St. Mary's Site

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Christmas Box Appeal

Giving > Charities
It is over 25 years since the Cooke family originated the idea of the Christmas Shoebox, asking children in the UK to fill shoeboxes with stocking fillers for Romanian orphans. In 1990 Dave Cooke and his wife Gill, after seeing the terrible images of Romanian orphans on the television, decided to do something about it and with the help of friends and family put together aid wagons ready to drive across Europe. What they didn’t know was that the few thousand shoebox gifts would grow into the biggest shoebox programme in the world! Operation Christmas Child was born. In 1994 Operation Christmas Child was amalgamated with the Samaritan’s Purse. Dave became Overseas Projects Manager, delivering shoeboxes all across the world whilst developing their soccer programme & Second Chance programme; taking sports and games to street-children and juvenile convicts. From those years pioneering new programmes and visiting new countries grew the seeds for Teams4U.

Dave left Samaritan’s Purse and founded Teams4U in 2006 after experiencing the atrocities of the Beslan crisis when over 300 people were killed in a school attack in Russia. In 2014 after repeatedly being asked to do shoeboxes again he relaunched the shoebox program as it was originally intended.
‘A gift from one person to another person, no strings attached!’


The current need is still extraordinary, and the power of the shoebox has never faded. Please be a part of this story that is continuing to impact and change lives by donating a Christmas shoebox to this year’s appeal and sending love and joy to children in real need.

Each shoebox is given out in deprived communities in Eastern Europe bringing joy and excitement into an often very bleak existence. Your shoebox will be given to a vulnerable child, or family, through schools, nurseries, hospitals and orphanages.  Our aim is that each box is given in relationship with the local community as part of a long-term commitment to these children. This year along with the people who organise the shoeboxes for Nottingham we are sending our boxes through Teams4You. A few reasons. There are less restrictions in what can go in the boxes, it cost only £2.50 to send your box and they all go to Eastern Europe so we will know what to put in them. Your shoebox will be given to a vulnerable child, or family, through schools, nurseries, hospitals and orphanages. Our aim is that each box is given in relationship with the local community as part of a long-term commitment to these children.                                                                                                       

Every year St. Mary's supports the Operation Christmas Child appeal  by helping to arrange the collection of boxes from local schools and other organisations, which are then checked before taking to a Collecting Hub in Nottingham.

This Christmas  2021 we collected 195 boxes, which  we think are going to Belarus, to be confirmed. P
Collecting our shoe boxes for next Christmas starts in October/ November. Simply collect a leaflet from the back of church or ring me and I will get some to you. For further information please contact Andrea Sands Tel 0115 920 2023 or email:

In order to reach their destinations, the shoe boxes need to be in church before the 10th November. Please help make a child’s dreams come true next Christmas.
For more information about the work of Teams4U, please go to their website

Gift Suggestions

Fun toys Items such as dolls or stuffed toys (with CE label), bubbles, toy cars, craft sets, harmonica, yo-yo, skipping rope, blow up football or globe, ball, small puzzles                                                                                                                    School Supplies Pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books etc.                                                                                                

Hygiene Items Toothbrush and toothpaste, bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel, sponge bag.

Other Items Hat, cap, gloves or scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewellery set, wind up torch, wrapped sweets.(best-before-date must be at least March 2020).

Do Not Include Used or damaged items, war related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives;  food items; liquids or lotions of any type ; medicines; hand-made or knitted stuffed toys; anything of a political, racial or religious nature; sharp objects; glass containers, ; playing cards of the 4-suit variety; clothing other than as listed above.

Please do include a £2.50 shipping donation for each box. Then place a rubber band around your box and deliver it to St Mary’s Church Arnold or contact Andrea for collection.

Christmas Box Appeal

Stories from Belarus this year

Natasha. It was my first gift ever. When I held it, there was joy and love in my heart such that I never felt before. I knew there were people out there who cared for me. I was not alone… As my whole class was running around seeing what everyone else got, I just stood in one place in amazement. I couldn’t believe what was going on and what I was seeing in my box… There was a doll, a colouring book, crayons, and hair clips. It took me a minute to let it all sink in. Because of my shoebox gift, I knew that the world wasn’t over yet. There was more to life than what I’d experienced. We were not forgotten. We were still loved.

Message from a partner in Belarus.                                                                                      The 14 year olds were very happy rejoicing over every gift in the box, thrilled with even a pencil. One teenage boy, when he opened his box began bounding around the room with each item showing it to everyone.                                    
A 7 year old girl opened her box taking out the gifts one at a time and thanking us.  The children had never before received such gifts. All of them are grateful – and so are we! Thank You!

To all of you who knitted, covered shoeboxes, donated money, sent in filled boxes or items for us to use to make up shoeboxes. And to those of you who helped us to check and seal the boxes.
Your time, thoughtfulness, generosity and love will and does make a lasting impression on these very deprived children.
Every single shoebox matters. Thankyou.

As Natasha said   “We knew we were still loved.”

Page was last altered 20 November 2021

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