OVER 1,300 Christmas gift shoe boxes are making their way to Ukraine thanks to the kindness of West Cumbrians.

Over the last few weeks, families, children, schools and churches all over West Cumbria packed 1,358 shoe boxes for the The Samaritan's Purse Christmas Child appeal with essentials like hats and gloves as well as small toys and other gifts.

Volunteers from areas including Keswick, Cockermouth, Wigton and Silloth worked together diligently preparing the shoe boxes for their journey.

Allan Daniels, Keswick's Deputy Mayor, joined the volunteers at Keswick Ministries' Rawnsley Hall to help load the truck for The Samaritan's Purse Christmas Child appeal.

Children from Broughton Primary School were invited to send some of their pupils to Keswick Ministries to see how the boxes are prepared for the 3,000 km long journey.

Kelly Lightfoot, teacher at Broughton Primary School, said: "At this time of year, when it's all

about giving, we wanted to give our children a chance to give."

Molly Bell, six, said: "It's quite fun because we get to see the shoe boxes being checked."

Mr Daniels added: "We are a caring community and the children are part of this. As they give

shoeboxes to other children miles away, we hope they will grow up to continue to care for

others. This is a wonderful example of this small community working together, not only for the

benefit of the town, but for the benefit for the greater good, not just in England, but around the


David Sawday, COO at Keswick Ministries, said: "This is a fantastic cause which underlines the Christian message of hope, especially during this Christmas season. Our premises are used for a variety of community activities, but this outreach is particularly close to our hearts. We are delighted that again, this year, we were able to contribute by making the Rawnsley Hall available for packing the boxes ready for shipment."

George Tsintas, regional co-ordinator of Operation Christmas Child, who has led the activities in

Keswick for the last six years, is passionate about the appeal.

He said: "The people of Keswick and the wider county have always been so generous. I am moved when I see the stacks of boxes children have packed and how much the volunteers enjoy working at the Rawnsley Hall 'warehouse', preparing them for their final destination.

"This is one more example of how people and organisations work together to deliver such

wonderful results."

Since 1990, Samaritan's purse's appeal has allowed more than 157 million children in some of

the poorest communities of the world in over 160 countries to receive a shoebox for Christmas.