By Malcolm Dent from the Rotary Club of Gosport. Here he talks about the work that goes into the area’s annual shoe box appeal.
OCTOBER and November are the months traditionally associated with Christmas shoebox collections around the area. Like many other organisations, Rotary plays its part in this most appreciated endeavour.
We collect from individuals, organisations and schools, bringing together the many young and not-so-young people who each year contribute to this worthy cause.
Every year retired school teacher Mary Tillman and her group of Trefoilers start work in January making shoeboxes for we Rotarians to send abroad.
The Trefoil Guild is for men and women aged 18 and over to continue the Guiding tradition.
Over the years, this band of merry girls and boys have produced thousands of shoe boxes.
We pick them up at the end of October and this year there were 240 of them.
Each was packed with gifts, toys and practical items to send to children in eastern Europe.
This year they are going to Albania, Montenegro, Moldova and Romania.
This is one of the highlights of our year, eagerly anticipated by all parties.
Once the boxes have been loaded into one of our member’s kindly-loaned van, we settle down and sing festive carols and songs, albeit a trifle early for Christmas, but enjoyable none the less.
This year is especially important for me.
I am travelling to Albania in order to see for myself the faces of the young people who receive these boxes.
I will be bringing back film to show the schools first hand what pleasure their small individual gifts can bring to their counterparts in poorer areas of the world.
n Would you like to contribute to our community pages?
Perhaps you would like to write a community column?
Then why not e-mail The News at email@example.com.