Over 4,000 Christmas shoeboxes, which contained items sent to children affected by poverty, left from Roscommon bound for Southeast Europe last Friday (November 22nd), as part of the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal.
‘Team Hope’ is an Irish, Christian development organisation which works to help children affected by poverty in Africa and Eastern Europe. The charity runs the Christmas shoebox appeal annually with people across Ireland placing items in a shoebox and donating them to those in need. In Roscommon, 4,059 shoeboxes were sent to Kosovo, a country that is among the poorest in Europe.
Knockcroghery resident, Junior De Larina, was the main co-ordinator involved in organising the distribution of the shoeboxes from Roscommon. He was delighted with the large number of donations and praised the 38 people who helped organise the shoeboxes in order to ensure that they could be shipped out to Kosovo on time.
“I came in late to the role of co-ordinator. In spite of this we had quite a good response. I had helped organise the shoeboxes in Donegal in the past but it is a tough challenge. It is a big operation as we have to make sure the shoeboxes can pass through customs and there is the paperwork to look after also,” he said.
Junior, who has lived in Knockcroghery for eight years and has also resided in Donegal after emigrating from Brazil in 2003, believes ‘Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal’ is an initiative worth supporting.
“Nobody gets paid to do this. We do it because we believe in giving hope to children in need. The children in Kosovo and in other poorer countries possibly won’t celebrate Christmas. I know people who work in receiving and distributing the shoeboxes and they have said that the children get very excited and it gives them hope”.
Junior is grateful for all the shoeboxes that were donated by the people of Roscommon.
“I am amazed at the generosity of the Irish and especially the Roscommon people. Some of the boxes were so well put together. The shoebox represents much more than a box of goodies. It warms my heart to see the generosity of the people who send us these shoeboxes,” he said.