CHURCH-GOERS in Stratford are looking to brighten up Christmas for the less fortunate in Eastern Europe.
Malcolm and Anne McCulloch, members of Stratford Baptist Church, are once again preparing shoeboxes to send to poor families in Romania.
It is the fourth year the couple has organised sending the gifts, which will be full of thoughtful and useful items.
Anne said: “It’s been great to see the support we received in the Stratford area grow over the past four years.
“Last year we collected almost 350 shoeboxes and over the years we have received lovingly prepared shoebox gifts from many individuals, workplaces, schools, groups and churches.”
Last Christmas the couple visited Romania to distribute the shoeboxes, and says it was heartwarming to see how appreciated they were.
Malcolm told the Observer: “For us both it was good to go back again two years after our last visit. We visited some of the same villages as last time and again saw the very basic conditions that many families were living in.
“Rather than walking through mud this time we were walking through snow – there were six days in a row when the daytime temperature did not rise above freezing.
“We were reminded at how appreciated the gift of a shoebox is. To us in the UK these are our everyday items but to these Romanian families they are a reminder that someone cares enough to give them the only gift they will receive at Christmas.”
Among those donating shoeboxes are generous youngsters from Bridgetown Primary School.
Pupils filled some 80 shoeboxes which will now be sent to disadvantaged families.
The couple will be collecting shoeboxes until Wednesday November 15.
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