It has become tradition in many Guide and Scout groups, offices, workplaces, classrooms and clubs to brighten the Christmas of less fortunate children in developing countries through the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Child Scheme.
The scheme, started in 1990 calls for an empty shoebox, some Christmas wrapping paper, and a few gifts suitable for a child in different age categories. Participants choose whether they’d like to make a shoebox of gifts suitable for a boy or a girl, and then choose the age of the child from three categories.
Next, you need to fill your shoebox with small presents, and for the 3rd Hinchley Wood Girl Guides, this means hitting Kingston for a very special shopping evening.
“It’s really exciting to think about someone else across the world reading our Christmas card and opening our gift box” says Lauren, a new Guide to the unit. “It makes you feel happy, because you are doing something for other people”, says Sophie.
“We use money raised throughout the year so we can go out for the evening and look for small gifts for the boxes. The Guides make shopping lists for things like sweets, small toys, toothbrushes, colouring books and pens, and budget for each item” explains Helen, the Unit Leader.
The next week after the shopping evening, the Guides wrap up the boxes and get them ready for Christmas. “It’s so much more personal than just raising money,” says Caitlin.
“We will drop them off at a local pickup point soon, and then they’ll be ready to be flown off all over the world… Belarus, Romania, Uganda. It’s such a wonderful opportunity.”
If you’ve missed the deadline or haven’t found a group to pack up your own gift boxes, you can still add some magic to a child’s Christmas. This year, Samaritan’s Purse is adding a new dimension to the scheme and it is easy for you to go online and design a digital box, which will be shipped off with the rest of the home packed ones – a real donation with a difference.
If you’d like more information, to design a digital box or make a donation to this fantastic cause, visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk