Shoebox appeal sees 3,000 sent to Africa

Damian HIggins and his helpers loading the lorry  with the shoe boxes on Monday morning on the Avenue Road
Over 3,000 “Christmas Shoeboxes” from Dundalk have been shipped to thousands of children in the poorest parts of the world.

Over 3,000 “Christmas Shoeboxes” from Dundalk have been shipped to thousands of children in the poorest parts of the world.

The gifts were shipped yesterday (Monday) to the African continent.

Organiser of the Team Hope North East appeal, Damien Higgins, said that Dundalk people remain generous to those in the tough economic climate.

“The response to the appeal has been fantastic,” Damien told The Dundalk Democrat.

“I’ve been doing the appeal for over ten years and each year the appeal gets bigger.

“Although people are struggling, Dundalk people still give to those who have very little. A small gift box can make a child’s life and Christmas magical.”

The appeal was “homeless” after their unit in the Old Shoppping Centre was demolished.

“A home for the appeal has always been a problem,” said Damien, “We didn’t have anywhere to operate from at the start of the appeal. We were saved by Eammon McGinn who provided the use of a unit beside Joan’s Store on the Avenue Road.”

Damien, who is well known in Dundalk for his charity campaigns, visited Armenia a number of years ago on a Samaritan delivery.

“Children in these parts of the world are playing outside with very little clothing. It’s the middle of winter and there is nothing they can do.

“Every year I remind myself why myself and my daughter Grace and friends conduct this appeal. When you see the face of a child lighting up at Christmas when they receive their box, it’s a magical feeling.”

A range of items are inside the box, from teddy bears, dolls to cloths.

Each gift is separated into particular age groups, under 5’s, 5-9years and 10-14 years.

Dundalk schools have really helped the appeal.

“We had a number new schools involved in the project this year,” Damien added, “The children and their parents really put effort into their box. It has been amazing and I would like to thank everybody who helped the appeal in any form.”