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Free concert in Oldbury to launch Christmas shoebox gifting campaign

A free concert is taking place on Friday to launch a charity campaign encouraging residents to pack Christmas gifts in shoeboxes for children in need.

A girl in Zimbabwe smiling with her Operation Christmas Child box of presents
A girl in Zimbabwe smiling with her Operation Christmas Child box of presents

The concert will take place at Oldbury's processing centre for Operation Christmas Child, a project by the international Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse.

Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes of presents to children in need all around the world, for many of whom, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

A boy in Zambia with his Christmas box

The campaign will send its 200 millionth shoebox this year, and hopes to send 11 million in 22 alone.

The Oldbury facility will be one of four major processing centres operating simultaneously nationwide from November 21 to December 17, as well as eight more pop-up centres across the country, and residents will be able to drop off gift-filled shoeboxes there.

By December 17, the Oldbury centre hopes to pack and ship 40,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from online orders across the United Kingdom.

A boy from Serbia receiving a Christmas box

But to get the parcels delivered to the children in need, over 1,000 volunteers are needed from the Midlands to help pack the shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items.

Organisers hope Friday's concert will raise awareness of the project and encourage people to volunteer.

A girl from Romania overcome with joy as she opens her box of gifts

Hannah Atkins, regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “It's amazing to see the local community rally together for a global purpose. We see all ages getting involved – and more and more every year.

“These shoeboxes will bring children hope and serve as a tangible reminder that God loves them.”

Toothbrushes are helpful items to pack in the Christmas boxes, alongside toys and gifts

The concert starts at 7.30pm at Unit 1, Junction 2 Industrial Estate, Demuth Way, Oldbury, B69 4LT. Singer/songwriter Rob Westall will perform, sharing songs from his new album, 1,000 Voices.

To find out how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 0208 559 1180 or visit samaritans-purse.org.uk/occ.

Participants can donate £5 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” to cover project costs and receive a tracking barcode to discover its destination.

For more information about volunteering at the Oldbury Processing Centre or attending the launch concert, call 0208 559 1180.

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