1000 shoeboxes were packed over a five hour session held at Bradford Cathedral, in collaboration with the Bradford Cinderella Club, on Saturday 8th December to bring Christmas gifts to children in the city to help make their Christmas special.
The shoeboxes, which included gifts, toys, chocolate and hygiene products, aimed at girls and boys of differing ages from babies to teenagers, were assembled by a team of dedicated volunteers who packed the boxes, labelled them and gift-wrapped the presents before they were sent out to a variety of locations across the city and district including the Bradford North foodbank; Bradford Women’s Aid; Shine West Bowling; the Ravenscliffe Community Association; and many other organisations, and local churches.
Support also came from members of the community and congregation who brought in their own boxes as well as supporting the assembly and wrapping of the gifts, all to the festive soundtrack of Christmas music. Members of the Bradford Cinderella Club and the Sea Cadets also provided assistance in ensuring the packing process went smoothly, and home-made refreshments were provided by members of the Bradford Cathedral congregation to keep the volunteers going!
The Annual Shoebox Appeal, now in its third year, was started in 2016 by The Revd Canon Mandy Coutts, who was there to oversee this year’s event and support the volunteers.
“There’s such great joy in seeing people come together for this incredible cause at this time of year. Bradford is at its best when everyone can come together to bless the children of the city in this way; people of different backgrounds all coming together for the cause.
“We long for the day we don’t have to do this appeal any more when the children of Bradford are thriving but until then we will continue to help bring some much needed Christmas cheer to the young people of the District.”
According to the latest figures released by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council in May 2018, 22% of the city’s children are living below the poverty line and Bradford is ranked the 5th most income deprived local authority in England, meaning the shoeboxes are a welcome gift for struggling families at the time of year when financial pressures can really take their toll on households with limited income.
For those who are able to help for future sessions, The Annual Shoebox Appeal will return next year and appeals for contributions and volunteers will be made in autumn 2019.