Over the last three weeks, Operation Christmas Child has called on the people of Wiltshire to donated wrapped shoeboxes of festive goods for the children.
And thanks to the Wiltshire Times and the many drop off points across the county, including Trowbridge, Southwick, Warminster, Bradford on Avon, Westbury, Melksham, Calne and Chippenham, so far more than 10,000 shoeboxes have been donated.
When all the donations are made, all of the gifts will be packaged up at the Old Silk Factory in Warminster over the next week before being sent to the West African county, which is one of the poorest countries in the world.
“I am so pleased and grateful to everyone who contributed to this effort. People have gone the extra mile to ensure thousands of children will have something to smile about this Christmas,” said Wiltshire area co-ordinator Steve Lloyd.
“Liberia is such a poor country so now that we know where it is going, it makes me very happy to know that the people of Wiltshire can make a difference.
“And getting to meet those generous and accommodating people when they dropped shoeboxes off was great. One lady knitted 100 puppets this year which was fantastic.”
On Saturday, Mr Lloyd’s trusty volunteers helped pack the mountains of shoeboxes, loading them into the delivery van which headed for a port in the UK before getting a boat ride to Liberia in time for Christmas.
“This would not be possible without their support. All these will go to Liberia but then the ones that come in over the next week may go to Eastern Europe, so we can help out even more people in different areas,” he said.
“Shoeboxes are still coming in so hopefully we can get as many in as possible. Recently I have had church groups, Beavers and others come in with many different shoeboxes which is great to see.
“Every year we ask the people of Wiltshire to help out and every year they deliver.”