A Little Bit of Hope Delivered in a Box

Whilst many of us are still wondering where to put all our children’s Christmas gifts, Wrexham based charity Teams4U sent 51,315 shoebox-sized parcels to children overseas who may never (neither for their birthday or Christmas) have received a gift before in their lifetime.

In their sixth year of their Shoebox Appeal, Teams4U were able to send these Christmas Shoeboxes to orphanages in Minsk, Belarus; to marginalised communities in Bralia, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea and Tulcea in Romania; and to displaced people-groups in Breza, Bosnia.

Teams4U’s founder, Dave Cooke said:

“No-one could ever have thought that such a simple thing – a small box filled with a few toys and some practical things like toothpaste and a hairbrush – could be so powerful or so treasured in the lives of children around the world.”

Teams4U, established in 2006, sends around eight volunteer teams a year on 10-day projects into Africa and Eastern Europe plus supporting various long-term education and health programs focused on alleviating poverty and enabling children to access school.

One of their most well-known projects, outside of their shoebox appeal, is Develop with Dignity, a program that not only provides schoolgirls with washable sanitary pads but also supports the training of teachers in delivering accurate education on menstrual and reproductive health in Uganda & Sierra Leone.

Teams4U have now secured a permanent warehouse and office space as their HQ in Unit 8, Llay Industrial Estate. Ziz York, who works for Teams4U, travelled with a team of volunteers to distribute the gifts in Oradea, Romania. She said:

“I will never forget this day when I realised that in one of the school’s classrooms, I’d spotted my own daughter’s box given to an 8-year-old girl, Alexia. This was my third distribution trip and I’d never seen one of my children’s boxes handed out. Alexia opened her box and every breath was ‘wow’ as she examined each small soft toy and a hand-knitted hat. One of the toys was from a MacDonald’s Happy Meal and I couldn’t help thinking that these things were so common-place in my house but Alexia handled it like it was treasure. I can’t put into words how humbled I felt in that moment.”

Teams4U would like to thank everyone who put together a shoebox or donated to the appeal and helped make so many Christmas dreams come true for these children.

For more information on the charity please visit their website: www.teams4u.com.

Victoria Lee