Action Zones 

Charity takes over much-loved shoebox appeal 

shoebox closure 20155th October 2015

by Liz Coates
Senior reporter
Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury


The International Aid Trust will take over the shoebox appeal

People in Great Yarmouth can keep up the good work and carry on filling shoeboxes thanks to another charity that has stepped in to fill the breach

As reported in last week’s Mercury Smile International has pulled the plug on its effort collecting the gift-filled containers citing soaring transport costs.?Now the Gorleston-based branch of Christian charity The International Aid Trust has said it will happily collected colourfully-wrapped offerings from schools, groups or individuals across the borough

It means well-meaning folk who enjoy the annual task of gathering toiletries and small presents like pens, pencils and cuddly toys can still parcel them up for a child living in poverty who may otherwise receive nothing at Christmas

Local co-ordinator Leslie Potter said he had been working with the trust for around ten years sending £5m of aid to India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries hit by hardship

Volunteers work locally at the trust’s warehouse at Longs Industrial Estate in Gorleston sorting and sifting through mountains of donations including household goods, toys and clothes from all over Norfolk and Suffolk

The charity also acts as a collection point for its 2000-strong army of Norfolk knitters whose hats, jumpers and scarves are gratefully received

Mr Potter, 74, of Bradwell, said he would be more than glad to hear from anyone who wanted to continue filling shoeboxes, as well as donate any other items that could be sent abroad to those in need

He said: “We send humanitarian aid around the world and one of the things we send is shoeboxes. We transport 70 containers a year to Eastern Europe and we would very much like to encourage those people who are already filling shoeboxes to bring them to us”The next consignment of aid will leave the Gorleston warehouse on October 10

In the last eight years more than 10,000 shoeboxes have been sent from the borough to Eastern Europe. Schools, clubs and organisations were among those who would enthusiastically add to the total, spreading festive cheer and encouraging children in this country to think of others

The decision to axe the collection was taken at a national level and in no way reflected on the generosity of people in Yarmouth who had always supported the appeal in good numbers

Shoeboxes can be taken to the depot in England’s Lane or collected from your club, group or school

To find out more contact Mr Potter on 01493 445533