Shoebox appeal gets off on the right foot

    Nathan Cole, son of Director of Operations Nick Cole, outside the premises on Cannon Lane

    TONBRIDGE residents are being asked to lend a hand this winter to help make sure children from around the world experience the joy of Christmas.

    Operation Christmas Child, which encourages donors to fill a shoebox with gifts for young people in the developing world, began processing contributions from around the South East yesterday [Tuesday].

    It is the second year that the scheme has run its regional operations from Tonbridge. Last year 11,435 boxes were processed through a base at the River Centre. This winter organisers have managed to secure the use of the former Homebase site on Canon Lane for no cost, vastly increasing its capacity.

    With the extra space available, the appeal’s national Director of Operations Nick Cole, who lives in Tonbridge, hopes to increase the base’s volunteer force and output.

    “The increased space means we aim to check 25,000 boxes from 15 November to 9 December. We welcome groups and individuals from the local area to form a big team of volunteers to take on this challenge,” said Mr Cole, who added that they are seeking to double the 200 volunteers they had last year.

    He said: “If you want to help out, you can turn up at the site and training will be provided on the spot. Please come for two hours minimum, between 10am to 4pm, although there will be some evening sessions later in the month. If your group is six or more people contact Sarah Smith to arrange your session time.

    “Call Sarah on 07840 006316 or email: sarahtonbridgeOCC@gmail.com. There will also be updates on the ‘OCC Tonbridge’ Facebook group.”

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