Rotary in Calderdale 2014 Christmas Community Shoebox Appeal Launched


The beginning of October saw the launch of this year’s shoebox appeal to benefit those in need in the community of Calderdale to ensure at Christmas many will receive a present to put a smile on the faces of so many.

Begun back in 2012 this is the third year that a number of Rotary clubs in Calderdale are working together in conjunction with local Johnston Press publications such as the Halifax Courier, supported by a grant from The Community Foundation for Calderdale, to have filled many hundreds of shoeboxes ready for distribution in the run up to Christmas.
Whilst supporting also Rotary’s International Shoebox scheme, the Rotary clubs of Brighouse, Elland, Halifax and Sowerby Bridge recognised a few years ago that one has to remember sometimes ‘charity begins at home’. This was brought to bear when it was pointed out by Dr Soo Nevison of Voluntary Action Calderdale (VAC)  some while ago that in Calderdale itself there are over 600 charitable organizations and good causes many of which support those less well off in our society having a wide variety of needs. Indeed ranging from young vulnerable mothers, the displaced, very low income families, those seeking new lives in the UK to the elderly many of whom are lonely. Thus in 2012 the good folks of Calderdale over a ten week period started filling voluntarily boxes with toys, toiletries and food. VAC who are the recognized coordinators for charities, had communicated early in the collection cycle and identified on an individual basis those whom Rotary could assist. The message was sent out to schools, local business’s, the public at large via supermarket outlets and local stores. Guess what some 2,500 were filled and distributed along the length of Calderdale from Brighouse through to Todmorden. 

Children loved decorating their boxes and the success in school participation continues today with fifteen local schools once again having asked to participate.
In 2013 and again this year a further ‘filling option’ has been added, namely Keep Warm as it is recognized that with the high costs with heating homes we have vulnerable senior citizens who just cannot afford to switch on gas and electric. Hence to be given gloves, hats, scarves and body warmers would be a very welcome gift.
Rotary’s coordinator of the scheme, Rotarian Bryan Harkness of the Rotary Club of Halifax commented that within just three weeks of this year’s launch some 2,000 flat-pack boxes had been distributed to schools, six supermarkets and over a dozen businesses. “At the rate this year’s stock is flying out of the door, it might be only a matter of a week or two before the local manufacturer has to be given another order for 1,000 more boxes!”
The appeal that is being successfully run throughout Calderdale is a prime example of how Rotary can successfully involve the community in a very worthwhile project that helps all in our society and ongoing, continues to raise Rotary’s profile.
The photographs shows school council children from various primary school’s receiving flat-pack boxes and in some cases already returning filled boxes. Indeed Rotarian Con Cluskey from the Rotary Club of Elland is shown doing just that. The first 50 he had delivered to St Patricks were already being returned filled by parents and children and he was requested to return to the school to deliver a further 30!