Team Hope is calling on families, school kids and communities to root out an old shoebox and ‘get wrapping’ and help them deliver their target of 200,000 gift-filled shoeboxes to needy kids in Africa and Eastern Europe for this year’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal 2015.
A Team Hope Shoebox Story
A Team Hope shoebox sent sixteen years ago from Galway to Armenia, has brought together both the sender and recipient for the first time recently.
The Shoebox was sent by 24-year-old Galway woman Claire Fahy who was in school at Belclare National School, Tuam at the time.
Two thousand five hundred miles away in Yerevan, Armenia, Arsen Khachatryan was living with his family, but life was hard. Families struggled in poor housing conditions, there was no employment, and people had to fight for food.
Then one day, shoebox gifts from Ireland came to Arsen’s school. His shoebox contained lots of things he had only ever dreamed of owning – toothpaste, toys, towels and a also notebook in which Claire had left a note.
After a two-year search to find the person who sent him the shoebox, the father-of-one arrived in Ireland today to thank Claire and join forces with TV3’s Ireland AM to support the 2015 Team Hope Shoebox Appeal.
Team Hope Shoebox Appeal 2015
Together they are calling on families, schools, community groups and businesses across the country to make a lasting impression on children in Africa and Eastern Europe by delivering over 200,000 gift-filled shoeboxes.
Speaking at the launch, Niall Barry, Team Hope Executive Director said: “Witnessing the emotional meeting between Arsen and Claire this morning shows so clearly the reality of what a positive impact the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal can make.
Poverty and need is on the increase every year in the countries we visit and we see at first hand that our Christmas shoeboxes help bring joy, laughter and hope to children living on the margins of society, victims of war, disease or poverty.”
Explaining what was special for him and his friends at the time they received the Team Hope Shoeboxes, Arsen said: “It was incredible. We opened the shoeboxes and saw lovely gifts like clothes, toys and other small items all the way from Ireland. I received a lovely note from Claire too with a beautiful photo.”
Claire described what motivated her to prepare her Shoebox in 1999: “Our teacher asked us if we could imagine waking up on Christmas morning with no presents. She explained that for many kids around the world, the shoebox is the only gift that they would receive. This made me think of how lucky I was and that I really wanted to make a difference, especially at Christmas.”
To get involved in the 2015 Team Shoebox Appeal, simply
- Fill a shoebox with gifts for a child (can include include pens, pencils, colouring books, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, a small item of clothing and a treat)
- Attach €4
- Bring it to a local drop-off point before Tuesday November 10th.
To find the nearest drop-off point visit Team Hope website.
In the receiving country Team Hope’s network of partners delivers the shoebox gifts right into a child’s hands – in hospitals, schools, shelters, churches, orphanages, community centres or family homes.
This year, working with their partners in Eastern and Central Europe, Team Hope also plans to give Christmas Shoeboxes to 20,000 refugee children caught up in the current crisis.