Banbury toy store steps in to accept gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child as lockdown causes a logjam

Banbury toy store The Entertainer has stepped in to offer itself as a delivery point for Operation Christmas Child as lockdown threatened to delay gifts destined for poor children abroad.

Some lucky children in poorer parts of the world have Christmas made special by a shoebox of gifts
Some lucky children in poorer parts of the world have Christmas made special by a shoebox of gifts

The coronavirus lockdown threatened to curtail the project - in which shoeboxes filled with gifts are wrapped and sent abroad for children in poor parts of the world - because of the closure of various deposit points until December 2.

But The Entertainer, in Banbury's Castle Quay, has offered to accept the boxes as part of its 'click and collect' operation which is in force throughout the month's lockdown.

Operation Christmas Child's Banbury organiser, Eunice Harradine, said: "With this year’s Operation Christmas Child campaign in full swing, it came as a disappointment to learn that plans which have been in place for months would have to be changed.

Volunteers have been packing and wrapping filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

“Drop-off locations around the UK were due to open this week only until next Monday, November 16 but because of the latest restrictions this was due to be delayed.

"But we're delighted to say that The Entertainer has prevented a real logjam by agreeing to continue with our original plan, taking the boxes as it operates its click and collect service. We're so grateful to them. They are the single deposit point for the shoeboxes in the Banbury area and this allows us to stick to the original timetable.

"I have received numerous emails and phone calls asking how the new measures will affect the collection of shoeboxes. It is encouraging that even in these difficult times, people still think of helping needy children overseas."

Mrs Harradine has encouraged those who have not yet filled a shoebox to consider doing so in the last few days of the campaign. "I hope that even in these difficult times with Covid-19 we can match or even exceed last year’s number of 1,727 shoe boxes of gifts from the Banbury area," she said.

"In some countries, children cannot attend school unless they provide their own pens, pencils and writing books so these items can make a big difference to a child’s life. Things we take for granted such as toys, soap, toothbrushes, hats and gloves are luxuries to the children who receive the shoe boxes."

Boxes should be filled with appropriate gifts for a girl or boy and labelled with the age of child it is intended for. For guidance or more information call Mrs Harradine on 07710 483902 or email [email protected]