Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > Major volunteer effort to check Norfolk's shoeboxes

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Major volunteer effort to check Norfolk's shoeboxes 

The Norfolk Area Coordinator of Operation Christmas Child is welcoming volunteers to become part of a team based in Wymondham this month, checking the thousands of gift laden shoeboxes donated by Norfolk churches, individuals and workplaces. 

Across Norfolk people are packing shoeboxes with toys, toiletries and stationery and donating them to the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child appeal, to be given as unconditional gifts to children in Central Asia. Last year 9,000 shoeboxes were donated to the charity from Norfolk. 

Shoeboxes are welcome at drop off points across the county until November 18 including sites in Norwich city centre, Watton, Dereham, Wymondham, Thetford, Diss, Wroxham, Brundall, King’s Lynn, Cromer and Sheringham.  

All of these boxes, as well as those collected by churches and businesses will be taken to a Processing Centre at Wymondham Business Park. On Monday, November 20, at the Processing Centre, a team of volunteers will begin the work of checking that each individual shoebox is properly packed and doesn’t contain any unsuitable items.

Trish Ellse, the Norfolk Area Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child (pictured) said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to join us as we process the Norfolk Operation Christmas Child boxes at our site in Wymondham.  

“We are holding inductions and training sessions on Thursday, November 9, 2pm – 6pm.  If you can’t make this session then you will be able to do an induction on the first day you volunteer with us. Come along at whatever point in the day works for you.”

The opening times for volunteering at the Wymondham Processing Centre are:
Thursday, November 9, 2pm-6pm for inductions and training
Monday, November 20 - Thursday, November 23, 11am-8pm for inductions and processing
Saturday, November 25, 10am -4pm for family processing
Monday, November 27 - Tuesday, November 28, 11am-8pm for processing
Wednesday, November 29, 10am-8pm

The warehouse operation is also in need of additional equipment and has put out an appeal to organisations who might be able to lend items.  Trish said: "If anyone is able to asisst us with tables, pallets, supermarket cages and hands to help pack, please can they get in touch with Emma Fawcett, Regional Manager on emma.fawcett@samaritans-purse.org.uk"  

This year for the first time there will be a Family Processing Day welcoming young volunteers to join the operation.

Trish said: “We want everyone to be able to have a chance to enjoy being a part of the Operation Christmas Child team, so on Saturday, November 25 we are open for family processing, for people of any age – we will be having an indoor picnic in the warehouse and showing OCC films during that time.  So bring your picnic blankets!”

There will be a warm room as a rest area in the warehouse, but volunteers should be aware that the main area will be unheated so they are advised to wrap up warm.  It would also be helpful if volunteers could bring their own mug and folding chair.

Click here to find out the details of shoebox drop off points near you.

The Processing Centre is Unit 13, Wymondham Business Park, Chestnut Drive, Wymondham, NR18 9SB
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