We first got involved with a Christmas shoebox campaign around 10 years ago. Back in the early days we tried to put together one box a week with a goal of 50 boxes a year. Each box had a little hat, knitted by Anne. We then became a drop off point for the communities that we are based in, and over the years we have developed an army of volunteer knitters and host annual wrapping parties, facilitating the delivery of more than 500 boxes per annum, although one year, we did reach the 1,000 mark.
This would not have been possible without the support from the community and it is always heart warming to witness the kindness and thoughtfulness of people bringing in writing materials, toys and other practical gifts and goodies for us to include in the shoe boxes which are hand delivered to families and the elderly who need them most in poorer countries such as Romania, Moldava, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
Our knitting volunteers are very close to our hearts, as many of them are elderly widows who are delighted to be able to contribute to such a positive and meaningful project, and as well as supplying us with knitted hats, scarves and small toys to include in the boxes, they also scour the shops for suitable toys and note books and coerce their dentists into giving us free toothpaste samples.
We work with a charity called Link to Hope who deliver Family and Elderly Shoeboxes. They do not deliver children’s shoeboxes, although if we receive children’s shoeboxes, we can arrange for these to be delivered via an alternative organisation.
If you want to get involved with our shoebox appeal, we are happy to receive donations from the following list, for a box for either a family or the elderly. We are also happy to add to our every growing army of knitters and have a selection of knitting patterns available. During November we always appreciate anyone who can give us a hand to pack and wrap boxes. We are also happy to receive empty shoe boxes that we can pack throughout the year, and any left-over Christmas wrapping paper that we can always make use of.
If you want to complete an entire box (or more) yourself, then Link to Hope ask for people to put similar items in each and every box. Over the years Link to Hope have found the recipients really appreciate those items which meet their most immediate, and mostly practical, needs. So, this year we are asking people to start off with a CORE list of 6 essentials that should go into EVERY shoebox.
These are: Gloves/scarf or hat (knitted or new); sweets/ chocolates (BB June 2020); soap & flannel; toothbrush/toothpaste; Candles & holders; small games.
Then add a minimum of 5 items from either the Family or the Elderly Shoebox List. Please remember that items should always be new or unused, and fit in a size 8 shoebox! Items that work really well are: Pencils/pens/colouring items, notepads; small colouring books; nail clippers/ small hot water bottles; jewellery.
You can drop your shoeboxes off to any branch of Rosedale at any point during the year, but if you are including edible items, please be aware of sell by dates.