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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 13:33 GMT
Shoebox presents shipped abroad
Volunteers packing boxes
Thousands of presents will go to Bosnian children
Ten thousand shoeboxes packed with children's Christmas presents began a four day journey to Bosnia on Wednesday.

The boxes had been donated by people living in south Wales as part of Operation Christmas Child, whose UK base is in Wrexham.

Maz Parkinson
Maz Parkinson: "Worthwhile cause"

About 30 volunteers helped pack an articulated lorry with the presents which had been stored at a warehouse in Talbot Green near Llantrisant.

When the lorry arrives in Bosnia, the gifts will be distributed to children in orphanages and hospitals.

Maz Parkinson, who has been the south Wales co-ordinator for the scheme for the last five years, said: "This is such a worthwhile cause.

"These children are so happy when they get a box like this because it is usually the only present they have at Christmas.

"Wages are so low in these countries that their parents can't afford to buy for them," she said.

Presents
Thousands of boxes are donated every year

Operation Christmas Child, which has been running since 1991, invites people to fill a shoebox with presents such as colouring books, balls and soft toys.

The boxes are then taken to many Eastern European countries and given out to needy children.

"The people who give are so generous and we are so grateful for the support we have," said Mrs Parkinson.

"People from all walks of life want to help - we have local churches, youth groups, Women's Institutes and many other organisations who help us collect.

"And we always get lots of people who want to help us pack the lorries - scout and guide groups, schoolchildren and a loyal army of local people," she said.

On Thursday, another lorry will go to the warehouse to be filled with aid such as blankets and clothing.

"The second one will get filled here and go to the depot in Wrexham to be sent on," said Mrs Parkinson.

"Giving the boxes is such a small thing to do but makes such a difference to the child receiving it - they are delighted with what they get," added Mrs Parkinson.


More from south east Wales

More from north east Wales
See also:

24 Dec 01 | Education
04 Nov 01 | Education
30 Jan 00 | Wales
25 Nov 01 | Europe
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