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THE new organiser of Operation Christmas Child is urging people in Melksham to back the campaign once again this year.
The campaign is run each Christmas with a team of volunteers collecting, sorting and delivering thousands of shoeboxes to children across the globe, who would not otherwise receive any presents. Last year 23,129 boxes were sorted and sent from the Bowerhill depot to disadvantaged children in the Ukraine.
This year has seen several changes to Operation Christmas Child including a brand new location and a new organiser.
Steve Lloyd has taken over the reigns from Hilary McFall who stepped down following last year’s effort, bringing an end to over 20 years’ service.
The warehouse where boxes are delivered, sorted and dispatched has also changed after over 20 years. The Bowerhill base previously used has become unavailable, meaning the team have moved to a warehouse in Westbury. However, despite the move from Bowerhill, local people can still get involved with several collection points across the town.
Steve Lloyd said, “I would like to see us send 30,000 boxes this year and urge those in Melksham and across the area to help us reach that target.
“I have been involved with OCC for a few years now, mainly helping to load the lorries. I always want to help others and make a difference in people’s lives, especially children. I think the project is amazing and captures people’s imagination and interest.
“Since Hilary retired I have been leading the operation and oversaw the project move and we now have a much bigger warehouse, so the capacity is greater. I have set up the warehouse from scratch as we took on an empty building and we have had to source all the tables and pallets, which I am pleased to say we have been able to do.
“The location for this year’s boxes has yet to be finalised, although it will probably be Eastern Europe; details will be revealed in due course. The campaign is a huge team effort and we have 30-40 volunteers at the warehouse covering different days and there are many more that pack and check shoeboxes across Wiltshire.
“Many people knit and make items for the boxes and people collect bits and pieces throughout the year towards the campaign. I thank all involved who are helping to make a difference.”
Anyone wishing to donate filled shoeboxes can take them to drop-off points at Specsavers on Bank Street or Regus Centre on Hampton Park West.
Alternatively shoeboxes can be dropped off at 113-114 Washington Road, Westbury Trading Estate, BA13 4JP between 10am and 4pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. If you have more than 50 boxes, collection can be arranged by calling Josie on 01225 282451.