Families in Westmeath can fill a Team Hope Christmas Shoebox on a shoestring

If you are thinking of filling a shoebox and times are tight, you can still help those who have less, even on a shoestring. There are 27,064 households/ families living in County Westmeath so Westmeath can really make a difference if every family donated one shoebox.

Filling a shoebox helps children to learn that expensive, packaged toys aren’t the only good gifts; simple things we take for granted, put together in interesting ways, can often lead to more memorable, long-lasting fun. It’s important to remember that many of the recipient families live on less than €1 a week and the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox will be the only gift they get this Christmas.

So, drop by your local Euro Store or Penney’s and look for things that may be useful or fun and can fit in a shoebox. Here are some examples of really simple gifts that will make a real difference to the lives of the recipients:

· Writing materials (such as coloured pencils, crayons, sharpener, colouring book, writing pad, etc )

· Personal hygiene items (like toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, plasters, brush, comb, coloured slides or hair bands etc )

· Anything they can wear (hats, gloves, socks, scarves, underwear, etc )

· A little cuddly toy such as a teddy bear, a doll, games, or small musical instruments

· Another good idea is to include a picture of you or your family, which personalises the gift. This enables the child to put a face to the person who sent the precious shoebox.

There are a few simple guidelines to abide by when filling your Team Hope Christmas Shoebox. It’s important to specify if the box is for a boy or a girl and the age group it is appropriate for (eg 2-4 years, 5-9 years, or 10-14 years ). Also, please include €3 in order to cover the cost of transportation. The Team Hope Christmas shoeboxes from Ireland are delivered to countries from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union such as Romania, Moldova, Eastern Croatia and the Ukraine. In Africa, children receive boxes in Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

There are lots of helpful tips and ideas for filling your Christmas Shoebox on the Team Hope website as well as a list of the drop-off points for Co Westmeath on www.teamhope.ie If you have any questions or need assistance, you can contact Team Hope direct on (01 ) 2940222.

To experience how much it means to someone to get a Team Hope Christmas Shoebox, check out Lindiwe’s story. You can see Lindiwe getting her shoebox, see what her house looks like and meet her Gran on the 2011 Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal DVD, or on www.teamhope.ie

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