An amazing total of 1,112 shoeboxes, packed with Christmas gifts, have winged their way to needy parts of the world, thanks to schools in the Mansfield area.
Retailing giant Sports Direct, whose headquarters are in Shirebrook, masterminded the collection of the shoeboxes for the third year running as part of Operation Christmas Child.
Children created the boxes in a national campaign aimed at delivering the spirit of Christmas to disadvantaged youngsters around the world in countries ravaged by war, poverty, famine, disease or natural disaster.
A total of 21 schools across Mansfield, north Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire filled the boxes with items such as toys, stuff for school. like pens, pencils and writing pads, hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap and hairbrushes, and general things like hats, gloves and sweets.
Sports Direct, which has 670 stores across the world, not only oversaw the whole appeal but also paid for the shipping costs of each box. The company’s senior human resources adviser, Chris Dean, said: “We are extremely delighted with the response this year. The schools and students have been very receptive and generous.”
Operation Christmas Child is run every year by Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief and development organisation that works with churches to help those in less well-off countries.
Since 1990, more than 146 million children in more than 150 countries have received shoebox gifts at Christmas from pupils of all ages. Many of the participating schools in the UK believe the appeal is a valuable learning exercise that helps to broaden the perceptions of youngsters.
The 21 schools in Mansfield, north Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire that took part this year are: Anthony Bek Primary School, Pleasley; Asquith Primary School and Nursery, Mansfield; Bolsover School, Bolsover; Brookfield Primary School, Shirebrook; Church Vale Primary School, Church Warsop; Creswell Junior School, Worksop; Dawn House School, Rainworth; Forest View Academy, New Ollerton; Heritage High School, Clowne; High Oakham Primary School, Mansfield; Holly Primary School, Forest Town; Meden School, Warsop; Netherfield Infant School, Mansfield; Nettleworth Infant and Nursery School, Mansfield Woodhouse; Peafield Lane Academy, Mansfield Woodhouse; Shirebrook Academy, Shirebrook; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Shirebrook; Stubbin Wood School, Shirebrook; Stubbin Wood Infant and Nursery School, Shirebrook; The Beech Academy, Mansfield; and Whaley Thorns Primary School, Langwith;