BOSSES at a funeral home have been overwhelmed by the generosity of townsfolk who are setting them on target for a record shoebox appeal collection.
Mason and Gerald Martin appealed for members of the community to donated shoeboxes filled with essential items for youngsters in disadvanted counties as part of their Operation Christmas Child appeal, in conjunction with Samaritan’s Purse.
And since the appeal began earlier this month, a record 613 boxes have been dropped off at the funeral home, in Park Road, Hartlepool.
This is a fantastic effort, as bosses at the funeral home say there is still just over a week to go for collection of the boxes.
The home has been involved in festive shoebox collections for more than 10 years and several hundred shoeboxes are sent away from the home each year.
A huge contribution to the total so far was made by students at the town’s Dyke House Sports and Technology College, who filled a whopping 96 shoeboxes.
Gerald Martin said: “The students of Dyke House have set some time and their own personal money aside to buy things that went into the shoeboxes and there are only certain items that can go inside.
“That can become expensive, and I think the fact that they have completed and filled 96 is generous in itself.
“These shoeboxes are going to children much less fortunate than themselves and you can tell by the photograph that they were happy in doing what they have done.”
Mr Martin also paid tribute to other members of the Hartlepool community who have also contributed to the appeal.
He said: “It’s not just Dyke House which has contributed – other people have come along year after year with these shoeboxes, and you see them from one year to the next.
“You see elderly people coming in to drop these boxes off, and it’s what they want to do, and may it continue.
“I think this is a record year and representatives from the Samaritan’s Purse always say Mason and Martin has one of the biggest contributors.”
People can pop into the home for a leaflet that provides information on what items can go into the boxes.
Alternatively, log on to www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/what-to-pack to find out more.