Medway and Maidstone Soroptimists volunteered for 7 weeks at the Shoebox Appeal Collection Point in Gillingham. 5500 shoeboxes were checked, packed into 606 cartons and ready for loading. On 15 December, the final load of filled cartons plus clothes, shoes and blankets were loaded onto the articulated lorry. The cartons were to be taken to 5 regions in Romania.
The surplus shoebox filler items needed to be sorted before everything could be closed down, for 2022. Julia Search took items for the Refuges and Food banks. Other items such as hats, gloves and toothbrushes stored ready for the Soroptimists to fill shoeboxes in 2023.
Each of the Soroptimist volunteers received a thank you letter and certificate from Blythswood for supporting the Shoe Box Appeal which is in its 29th year. The need remains great for those whose lives are daily shaped by poverty, isolation and want.
It has been said by one of the volunteers that ‘every shoebox is a smile.’ Every gift in every box makes a difference. As useful as the items inside are, the beauty of shoebox gifts goes beyond this – each gift lets a person in need know that someone that they have never met before has thought about them and cares about them. Long after the toothpaste has been used up, the candles burned and socks grown out of, the hope and love conveyed by a shoebox goes on.