Christmas in a shoebox” campaign starts again

Christmas in a shoebox' campaign starts again

So this is what angels look like nowadays: Quite unspectacular, without wings and halo, but with a smile that warms your soul. Renate Strung and Maria Fast are such angels. Christmas angel. They are a crucial part of an international aid project that really brings Christmas to where it was some 2,000 years ago: to poor dwellings, to people who have nothing, who have often lost even the hope of a glimmer of light.

Action goes to twelve target countries

Children from two to fourteen years of age are the target group of the “Christmas in a Shoebox” campaign. They live in Bulgaria, Georgia, Mongolia, Kosovo, Belarus and many other countries of the former Eastern Bloc as well as in the West Bank. Around half a million children from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol were given Christmas presents in this way last year. So many packages have been dropped off by compassionate individuals at collection points like Renate Strung’s.

They have previously been infected by the stories and reports of voluntary helpers who distribute thousands of flyers or encourage people to participate in schools. “When our children hear for the first time about the poverty of the children in care in Romania, who may never have received a Christmas gift”, Maria Fast, who presents the project in the region’s elementary schools, says: “Then they often spontaneously decide to pack a shoebox as well.

Often more fits into the box than one would think. “It should be a good mixture”, explains Renate Strung, who checks all packages thoroughly before departure. “A cuddly toy, a piece of clothing, toys and school supplies, hygiene articles, originally packaged sweets and, if you like, a photo or a card from the sender.”. With it a child could be made more than happy. Important: It must be absolutely new articles. “If we are checked at the border and the customs officers discover used clothing, for example, the contents of the entire truck have to be disinfected.”. And so the gifts would be clinically clean, but also completely lost.

There are also things that are taboo: Chewy candies containing gelatin, war toys, or items related to witchcraft or sorcery are weeded out. Renate Strung checks each package before it goes to the main collection point at the Evangelische Freie Gemeinde in Wurzburg and then from there on its long journey.

The joy of giving

230 packages were delivered to their front door in 2011. Each shoe box should also contain at least six euros in transportation costs. “This is then for the costs of the organization”, explains Renate Strung. “The wonderful thing is that every package really does arrive and a child is happy at Christmas”.
And that is probably exactly what is warming more and more people to this campaign. Help, which arrives one to one there, for which it is intended. Once you start, you discover what it means that giving is more blessed than receiving. “When I finish a package and close it, then it’s Christmas for me”, admits Renate Strung.

Apparently many feel the same way. “There is a man from Kitzingen,” she says, She says, “He came once and handed in six packages – one for girls and one for boys for each of the three specified age groups. Renate Strung laughs and continues: “He also came in the following and every subsequent year. And hopefully also this year”. She also tells about an elderly lady from her church community. She knits socks in various sizes throughout the year and uses them to fill a number of parcels. Angel stories like this one are also hiding in shoeboxes.

Deadline: 15. November

Up to the age of 15. November, large and small Christmas angels can still drop off packages at Renate Strung’s home at Am Viehtrieb 47 in Groblangheim or in Rudenhausen at the Goldbrunnen 16 at Luba Fast deliver. The upper and lower parts of the shoebox must be covered separately with wrapping paper for this purpose. Last year, almost 2000 shoe boxes went on their Christmas journey from Wurzburg.

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