Despite the uncertainties associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Rotary Shoebox collection was able to go ahead, with all the necessary restrictions in place to keep everyone safe. For over 25 years Rotary Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland have been operating a Shoebox Appeal. Shoebox-sized boxes are distributed to schools, clubs and other organisations to be filled with toys for children of all ages, items for babies or household goods. These are shipped to selected countries in Eastern Europe in time for Christmas. For the recipients of the boxes, these are likely to be the only presents they receive this Christmas. The scheme has been going for over 25 years and, in that time, over one million boxes have been delivered to Ukraine, Romania and Muldova.
Initially, because of the difficulties everyone is experiencing, the Rotary Club of Bridge of Allan and Dunblane anticipated a more limited response, with a reduced target that around 200-250 boxes would be filled. Its regular supporters, Queen Victoria School, Newton Primary School and Fairview International School, were joined this year by Wallace High School, and for this year there has also been support from the 11th Bridge of Allan Scout Group. In addition, members of the Rotary Club, recognising the particular hardships being experienced in eastern Europe, were particularly supportive. In the end, thanks to the hard work and generosity of all those involved, and well ahead of the Club’s expectations, we were able to fill over 320 shoeboxes which have now been delivered to the holding depot in Perth for onward shipping. It was an excellent outcome given the particularly difficult times.
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