Can you help brighten up a child's festive season - the drop-off places in your area for Operation Christmas Child

There are drop-offs in Luton, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard

By Lynn Hughes
Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:11 am

It's that time of year again with the launch of the Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign.

And Barratt North Thames is opening the doors to its Linmere Sales and Marketing Suites on Betony Meadow as a drop-off point for donations. People will be invited to drop off their packed shoeboxes between November 15-22.

The Operation Christmas Child campaign sees local communities pack shoeboxes with gifts for deprived children located all across the world. The shoeboxes are donated, processed and shipped to vulnerable children between two and 14 years old worldwide, with contents including but not limited to toys, puzzles and essential school supplies. The charity has helped spread festive cheer to more than 178 million children in over 150 countries since the campaign began in 1990.

Refugees with their donated Shoeboxes

Nick Cole, Director of Operation Christmas Child UK said: “Last year despite the challenges of the pandemic, our generous supporters in the UK and worldwide combined with resourceful, determined partners overseas to deliver over 9 million shoeboxes, bringing joy and hope to children in a time of discouragement. Where necessary our partners went door to door or gathered children in household ‘bubbles’ to give out boxes safely.

“We would like to thank the many schools, businesses and individuals who have contributed to the campaign already, and we now look forward to collecting these gifts and delivering them quickly and of course safely to ensure these children can have a Christmas they deserve.”

Karly Williams, Sales and Marketing Director for Barratt North Thames, said: “We are really pleased to support this initiative. Covid-19 has put a great strain on families’ finances both locally and abroad, and this campaign is committed to supporting children who have been affected by poverty. We are very proud to have Linmere as a drop-off point and encourage members of the local community to fill a shoebox and bring it to our Sales and Marketing Suite between the 15th and 22nd November.”

Anyone who would like to drop off a shoe box will need to follow the following steps:

>Get an empty medium sized shoebox and wrap the lid and box separately in festive wrapping paper. Select the gender and age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 for your gift recipient, download the label via https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/follow-your-box-donation and attach to the top of your shoebox.

>Fill the box with suitable gifts, including stuffed animals or toys, school supplies, hygiene items or clothing – further gift suggestions can be found on the website: www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/what-goes-in-my-shoebox/>Please note that due to more stringent import regulations, food items, lotions, liquids and toothpaste cannot be included alongside religious or political literature, medicines and aerosol cans. For further information about prohibited items please visit their website.

>Make a donation of £5 towards collection, processing, shipping and training of Local Churches & Project Materials to inspect and distribute the shoe boxes.

>Print off a barcode (you will receive this once you have made a donation) and place in the shoe box.

>Place a rubber band around the box and drop it off at The Barratt Homes Sales and Marketing Suite at Linmere is open Monday 12:30pm - 5:30pm, Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am - 5:30pm.

For further details about Operation Christmas Child and how to pack a shoe box, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.

Other local sites for drop-off points include

Barratt Homes Sales and Marketing Suite , Clipstone Park, Sagan Rise off Leighton Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9NY. Monday 12:30pm-5:30pm, Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5:30pm.

Connells, 4 Market Square, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1HA. Monday - Friday: 8:30am-6pm. Saturday: 9am-5pm.

Cinch Self Storage, Grovebury Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 4SQ. Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9-4 Sun 10am-2pm.

The Chalk Hills Academy, Leagrave High Street, Luton, LU4 0NE. Monday 15th to Friday 19th and Monday 22nd November: 8am - 5pm.

The Way Coffee House, 6 West Street, Dunstable, LU6 1SX. Monday: 8:30am-3pm Tuesday: 8:30am-3pm Wednesday: 8:30am- 9pm Thursday: 8:30am-3pm Friday: 8:30am-3pm Saturday: 8:30am-3pm.

The Entertainer, Unit 100/102 Cheapside, The Mall, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2TH. Open everyday except Sundays. You can check opening times for this specific store on The Entertainer website - https://www.thetoyshop.com/store-finderLuton Christian Book Centre, Kestin House, 45 Crescent Road, Luton, LU2 0AH. Tuesday-Friday 9.30am-5pm Saturdays 9.30am-2.30pm.