Christmas shoeboxes reach world’s poorest

It is the end of the journey for the shoeboxes filled with gifts as children in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe received their Christmas boxes sent from the Algarve.

More than 1,130 shoeboxes were donated by people from the Algarve as part of Operation Christmas Child, allowing some of the most underprivileged children in the world to experience presents at Christmas time.

Residents in the Algarve were asked to fill shoeboxes with Christmas gifts and then deliver them to the Bombeiros Voluntários in Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimão and Lagos (see the Algarve Resident edition September 18).

Many boxes from the Algarve were sent this year to Bosnia, a country in a transitional stage and recovering from the effects of war.

Levels of unemployment in Bosnia are very high, said Gill Rhodes of the Samaritans Purse charity: “It is often the children who suffer as their parents and carers struggle to survive.

“We sent more than 1,130 boxes from the Algarve, giving many children a big smile on their faces.  A big thank you to all who supported the campaign in any way.”

Jill Kinsey, a former resident in the Algarve, runs two children’s homes in Lesotho, Africa.  Children in her care have also received shoeboxes this Christmas. “Many of the children in the care of Jill are orphans whose parents have died from Aids and have grandparents who can no longer care for them,” said Gill Rhodes. “The shoe boxes they received meant so much and these children would certainly not have received presents like these if it wasn’t for the kindness and love shown by people in the western world.”

Gill Rhodes and other members of the Samaritans Purse charity were unable to help in the distribution of the shoeboxes this year in Belarus, but are planning to go in December 2010 to help in the effort.

For further information about Operation Christmas Child, please visit or alternatively email Gill Rhodes at [email protected]

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