Christmas has been saved by volunteers

Waldingfield Primary and Pot Kiln Primary visiting the warehouse with their shoeboxes packed with gifts.''FL; ENGANL00520130212090354
Waldingfield Primary and Pot Kiln Primary visiting the warehouse with their shoeboxes packed with gifts.''FL; ENGANL00520130212090354
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Volunteers have expressed their delight at finding a base to sort thousands of presents sent in for the Christmas shoe box appeal.

On October 9, the Free Press published a desperate appeal for a large warehouse space to be used to collect, store and sort the thousands of boxes sent in from the Sudbury area, before they are shipped off to some of the poorest children in the World.

Organisers were worried they would not be able to find a space large enough until local business J&J Howlett Garage offered out one of their former display units for free.

“It’s amazing, we don’t really hear of good things like this anymore,” said Kim White, warehouse manager for the appeal in the Sudbury area.

“For them to give up this space just before Christmas when they could get a business in and make money is so generous.”

Hundreds of schools, churches and businesses donate shoe boxes full of presents each year.

In previous years the campaign, known as Operation Christmas Child and organised by the Samaritan’s Purse, has seen pupils from some of the schools involved visiting the warehouse to deliver their school’s donations and witness the massive sorting process that takes place each year.

Over 42 days volunteers will go through every one of the 10,000 boxes that are sent in, checking for forbidden items including packs of cards and liquids.

“I’m very happy, I’m just excited that the whole thing can get going,” said Mrs White.

The charity is just waiting for the final go ahead before they move in, with school visits to start in the coming weeks.

Mrs White added: “I can’t wait to get in and for the children to receive their presents.”

Christine Finbow, one of the directors at the family-run J&J Howlett, said they offered one of their units after seeing the appeal in the newspaper.

The firm used to own car garages and now rents out properties and unit space.

“We are happy to have helped them out,” Mrs Finbow said. “We wouldn’t have had anyone in before Christmas.

“We originally became aware of Samaritan’s Purse many years ago when my children were at primary school.

“We continue to do the boxes with my brother’s children who are at Great Waldingfield Primary School.

“I think it’s good for the children to get involved in something at Christmas.

“They all get so much and it’s good for them to give something to others who get nothing.”