Contributors to the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal are encouraged to add a personal touch to their gifts – a photo of themselves.
The annual Samaritan’s Purse charity initiative asks people to fill shoeboxes with Christmas goodies for children in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“One of the things I like to promote is a photograph. The children open the box and see that a real person loves them and has taken the time to send them a present,” Chris Rolston, who co-ordinates the appeal with her husband Errol, said.
Mrs Rolston said the main focus of the shoebox appeal was the joy of giving and receiving, and each year the organisation aimed to share the Christmas spirit with a new remote village.
“Children who receive the shoeboxes have likely never received a gift before,” she said.
Mrs Rolston visited Witt chaplain Cathy Gordon who is encouraging staff at the polytechnic to fill boxes.
Mrs Gordon has been involved in the shoebox appeal for four years and she has already beaten her target of filling 10 boxes.
“It’s the feel-good factor that people are doing something and it refocuses Christmas,” she said.
Facilities manager Charlotte Dunning is participating for the first time and getting her two sons involved. “They are at the age where they can start learning about charity and helping other people that are less fortunate.”
Witt library staff are foregoing their round of $5 Christmas gifts this year in favour of contributing to the appeal.
“I did it because Christmas is about giving and helping those least fortunate,” said librarian Bridget Knuckey.
Donations to the appeal can be made by contacting Chris and Errol Rolston on 7520552 or Anna at the Northpoint Baptist Church Office on 755 2374. The closing date for the boxes is October 21.
This article was published in the Taranaki Daily News on September 26, 2013.