Blythswood Care launches its 2015 Shoe Box Appeal at their Ballymoney shop, in Seymour Street this morning (Saturday 5th September) from 10:30am to 3:30pm.
The Rev Ian McNie (moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland) will officially launch the appeal at 11am. There will be lots of activities taking place, with light refreshments and competitions for the children. There will also be wrapped shoe boxes and fillers for sale with all proceeds going to the appeal.
Ballymoney plays a vital role in our Shoe Box Appeal every year. Over 1300 shoeboxes have been wrapped by John McLaughlin already this year. These boxes will be sold across Northern Ireland to help cover the costs of sending the boxes overseas. Ballylaggan Reformed Presbyterian Church over the last six years have checked, sorted and packed thousands of shoeboxes and their involvement has been vital to the success of this appeal.
Last winter the annual appeal resulted in 106,000 boxes being delivered to people in eight east European countries and in Pakistan. Almost 12,000 of these boxes came from Ireland. This year the organisation has set a target of 120,000.
Filled with everyday items such as a bar of soap, a pair of socks and a notebook, the boxes give practical help to people deprived of basic necessities. But it’s the emotional impact which Blythswood’s partners in Europe identify as being most significant.
“It is not going to solve the problem of poverty,” says Adrian Popa who has pioneered educational and relief programmes in his native region of Banat, western Romania. “It is simply a gift that provides joy and happiness.
“And if that means a toothbrush and shampoo and extra stuff that would make someone’s face light up at the end of the day I think it’s incredible. It’s surprising that someone far away from you cares and would send you a present.”
Blythswood’s chief executive James Campbell says: “Thank you for supporting the Shoe Box Appeal. It is making a real difference to the lives of those who have nothing. If you are able to give us a shoebox this year, we will ensure that it goes to somebody in great need and it will bring great joy and happiness.”