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Aid to Eastern Europe

PUBLISHED: 01:00 18 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

PEOPLE celebrating Christmas in Ipswich also have the chance to make a difference abroad.

The Salvation Army is hosting a Civic Carol Service at their Woodbridge Road premises next month where guests are invited to bring along a shoebox with small gifts inside.

PEOPLE celebrating Christmas in Ipswich also have the chance to make a difference abroad.

The Salvation Army is hosting a Civic Carol Service at their Woodbridge Road premises next month where guests are invited to bring along a shoebox with small gifts inside.

The boxes will be sent to children in Eastern Europe. For some of these children, aged from newborns to 14-year-olds, it will be the first ever Christmas present.

Major Mike Stannett spent ten years in the Czech republic with his wife, Ruth, helping to set up projects and day centres to help the homeless before returning to Britain in August.

"Each year we have a Civic Carol Service attended by the mayor or their deputy," said Major Stannett. "It is not an internal service. It is open to everyone and each year couple of hundred people come along. We want them to know what to bring."

The shoebox could contain anything from skipping ropes, to crayons, cuddly toys or toy cars for the younger children, to cosmetics or baseball caps for the teenagers.

"In the past when the children have been in receipt of the gifts we have been amazed by the quality, " said Major Stannett, who is combining the carol service with Operation Christmas Child – the Gift Filled Shoe Box Appeal, organised by Samaritans Purse.

"These children are living in a state Christmas home and would probably get nothing, and I mean nothing.

"When it is a choice between Christmas gifts or feeding them, gifts are not one of their priorities.

"When you see the children in homes or hospitals open them their faces light up. It brings them so much joy. The gifts don't have to be expensive just good quality.

"If people need a shoe box they could pop along to a shoe shop to ask if they have any spare ones."

The lid is to be wrapped separately so that the organisers can control the gifts. Certain things are not allowed such as war related items, (ie toy guns or action men) aerosols, cigarettes or glass containers.

n The carol service is at 5.30 pm on December 9 at The Salvation Army, 558 Woodbridge Road.

People who can't attend the service can also deliver a wrapped shoe boxes to the premises, before the closing date of December 9, or collect a leaflet for gift ideas and a label for the box.

Weblinks

http://www.samaritanspurse.org

http://www.salvationarmy.org

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