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Soroptimists Pledge 75 hours Volunteering at Christmas Shoebox Sorting Centre

An urgent call out went out for volunteers to assist with checking the filled shoeboxes for the Christmas Shoebox Appeal ( ). Eleven Medway and Maidstone Soroptimists including some of our new members responded offering to volunteer working shifts totalling 75 hours.

The Sorting Centre for London and the South-East is operating between 25 October and 10 December.  It is being held this year in a different location at St Barnabas Church in Gillingham. It is busy time for the volunteers checking shoeboxes that are to be dispatched to Serbia and Romania. The latest update is that over the next 3 weeks there are still 7000 shoeboxes waiting to be checked, so still more volunteers are needed.

The Leicester area does not have a Sorting Centre and so their 2800 filled shoeboxes were put on a lorry and delivered to Lok’n’Store at Gillingham on 13 November. A small group of seven volunteers which included Janet Garnons-Williams, Jill Squires and Jane Barnes had to work to a tight deadline of just two hours. The group worked hard and successfully unloaded all the shoeboxes. They were put into cages and then in storage until they could be checked. The photo shows Jill Squires and Janet Garnons-Williams in one of the storerooms surrounded by all the shoeboxes.

In 2020, 75,218 shoeboxes and bags were donated from across the UK and sent off to Eastern Europe.

This year the Blythswood plan is to deliver shoeboxes and bags to Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Receiving a shoebox brings so much joy and happiness to the vulnerable communities across Eastern Europe when they find things they need such as hat, scarf, gloves, soap, shampoo, toy, and sweets.