Operation Christmas Child thriving in new Droylsden home
Monday 3rd December 2018 @ 11:54 by Tom Greggan
Droylsden Dukinfield News Tameside

Operation Christmas Child is once again underway in Tameside, but this year it has a new home!

The campaign, by Samaritan’s Purse, asks people to put together a shoebox of small gifts, which are then despatched across the world to children who might otherwise receive nothing.

Thousands of shoeboxes are donated from across the borough every year and sorted by a dedicated team of volunteers, usually in a warehouse on the Plantation Industrial Estate in Ashton.

However, this year, the boxes will be sent to an empty unit on Droylsden Shopping Centre, before being distributed to those in need.

Kathy Hawkins, who is heading up the Tameside operation, said: “We’re in the shopping centre in Droylsden. It has excellent public transport links and car parking is just 20p an hour. It’s an empty shop in between Savers and Peacocks. It’s very bare but it’s lovely and warm!”

Volunteers are always welcome to help check there are no unwanted items in the boxes and to sort them into gender and age categories. Kathy added: “We started on November 14th and we will be going for at least a month. If you’re interested in volunteering, it would be lovely to see you. Everybody is welcome, no matter what age.

“If there are any teachers out there who would like to bring their children, please bring them because we need to teach the next generation what poverty really means.”

The first lorry load of shoeboxes left Droylsden last week headed for the Ukraine.

Shoeboxes can be dropped off at the sorting centre or at Dukinfield Town Hall. Cllr Jackie Lane and the Dukinfield Ladies Community Group have been involved with Operation Christmas Child since 1999.

Cllr Lane said: “If anyone wants to drop off a box or items to be put in boxes, they can drop them off at Dukinfield Town Hall from 10-4 Monday-Friday. If there are any issues, they can ring me on 0161 339 1265.

“Every child deserves a present so please make the effort to make a little box up. If you can’t do that then please donate anything you can, such as gloves, hats, pens etc. Anything spare like that, we really do appreciate it.

“I’d like to thank Patrick Frank and the owners of Droylsden Shopping Centre because we’ve had a lot of football from passers-by here. It’s been a positive step for us.”

The sorting centre at Droylsden Shopping Centre is open from 10-5 on Monday, Thursday and Friday, 10-9 on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 10-2 on Saturday.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.