Charity Christmas Shoebox gift appeal goes digital

OPERATION Christmas Child, an annual project by international relief charity Samaritan’s Purse, is offering individuals the opportunity to pack their Christmas shoebox gifts for vulnerable children living in some of the world’s poorest countries online this year, as lockdowns are imposed across the UK. The news comes as a new study[1] conducted by Savanta ComRes, found that three-in-five (62%) of UK adults will be buying most of their Christmas gifts online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, meaning charities such as Samaritan’s Purse are having to swiftly adapt their seasonal appeals to adapt to this new trend. 

The research, which was commissioned by Samaritan’s Purse, also highlighted that 75% of those adults surveyed believed that the children living in poverty who receive these gifts in countries such as Belarus, needed to feel loved more than ever this Christmas due to the impact of the pandemic on their lives. However, despite this, only one quarter (26%) of UK adults are planning to donate to an overseas charity this Christmas due to the impact of COVID19.

Director of Operation Christmas Child, Nick Cole says, “The pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of children’s mental and physical health. The concern for children across the world, and the importance that they need to feel seen and loved this year is more apparent than ever. Our hope is that Shoebox Online will enable individuals to safely play their part in ensuring children are given the necessary support in the face of all they have experienced this year.”

Shoebox Online gives people in the UK the opportunity to pack a tailored and personalised shoebox with age appropriate, safe, fun and special gifts for the child who will receive them, as well as offering them the chance to write a personal message to the recipient. After choosing the gender and age of the child they’re packing for, they can select the items they would like to be packed in the box such as school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. For many children who receive them, it is the first gift they have ever received.

Cole continues, “From this research we see that while concern is high for children across the world during the pandemic, the desire to donate to charities is a low priority. Yet, 79% of respondents believed that all children should receive at least one present at Christmas despite their circumstances. Through Shoebox Online, individuals can offer a tangible act of kindness safely from home, and help contribute to the mental well-being of children in the most vulnerable communities.”

Operation Christmas Child volunteers then pack up every box donated with the gift selection made online by the individual in the UK, and then send it onto children living in some of the toughest circumstances across the globe. Shoebox Online has already reached 26,000 boxes filled, which is three times the amount packed this time last year. 

Find out more about packing a Christmas shoebox online here: shoeboxonline.org.uk

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