Broadstone Methodist Church regularly participates in Link to Hope and last year contributed to the 40,000 Family & Elderly Shoeboxes that were sent to those in need in eastern Europe. Bring your filled shoeboxes to church on the date shown at the end but it is quite pleasing to start collecting small gifts in advance. A very useful activity is to provide a young relative with a list and a set sum of money and take him or her to Poundland or similar. Just follow them round the shop letting the young person make choices and understand how very different life can be in poorer parts of the world. It would also be useful if you could start saving empty shoeboxes for others to fill!
The annual Family Shoebox Appeal has been running since 1992 and has delivered smiles to thousands of people in eastern Europe over the years. In fact Link to Hope has sent over 800,000 shoeboxes to hundreds of different locations! People are asked to fill a Shoebox for a family – not just a child. The list contains items for all family members and includes items such a shower gel/shampoo, family games, stationery items, gifts for mum and dad as well as sweets, soft toys, hats, scarves etc.
The Family Shoeboxes of gifts are given to families who often have to make a choice between buying food or fuel at Christmas time – buying presents is just not a priority. Many of these families do not have running water, heating or electricity. Some live in appalling conditions, often living in just one or two rooms, and life for them is a real struggle to survive. A shoebox for a family means that everyone receives a gift. A scarf for the mum, a tape measure for the dad, toys and games for the children as well as stationery and coloured pens. Also toiletries, toothpaste, shampoo and soap to keep everyone clean and free from the germs that make them ill. And of course sweets and chocolates for everyone – a family favourite.
Due to the number of elderly people that are now being left alone due to their families leaving to work away, people can also fill shoeboxes for the Elderly. Childrens’ games and education materials are replaced with a wind up torch, sensory items, candle and holder etc.
The boxes get sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine by Link to Hope a Christian charity small enough to have a personal relationship with all the key contacts in eastern Europe who distribute the Shoeboxes and they do spot checks to ensure that your boxes are received by the correct people.
Shoeboxes will be received on 27 October 2019 during morning worship. Watch out for the leaflets in church with the full list of items that might be included.