St Nicolas Church and Rotary Club of Cranleigh have written a letter of appreciation to the local Cranleigh community, following a massive response to its joint appeal for gift-filled shoeboxes.
Schoolchildren, church parishioners, and residents of Cranleigh and surrounding areas donated nearly 1,000 shoeboxes for the Romanian Children Shoebox Appeal.
As in previous years, these locally donated shoeboxes were supplemented with around 300 from Sevenoaks and Poole.
This year, Cranleigh served as a ‘UK destination point’ for shoeboxes collected in churches in Newcastle, Leeds, Luton, Frinton and Berkhamsted. As a result, more than 2,300 shoeboxes, along with several bags of donated clothing and toys, were dispatched by a large articulated truck from Cranleigh to Romania at the start of the month.
The shoeboxes and gifts were packed at Riding for the Disabled’s barn in Rowly Drive. Many local organisations took part in the effort, providing large cartons, pallets and truck-loading equipment.
The boxes will be distributed, as before, to disadvantaged families in Hunedoara, western Romania by Pastor Corneliu Medrea who, together with his wife Diana, set up the Bethlehem Centre in Hunedoara, west Romania in the 1990s.
As well as conducting Christian activities, the centre also seeks to develop practical projects to meet the dire physical and material needs of those around them.
They have used donated aid over the years to create not only a community social-care centre but also to provide hygiene facilities for children in families with no running water or electricity, as well as a daily-meals programme for children with little or no food.
They also operate after-school clubs to support the educational needs of illiterate children.
Ten local schools donated about 750 boxes were Cranleigh C of E Primary School; Park Mead Primary School; Cranleigh Preparatory School; St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Primary School; Cranleigh School; St. Joseph’s Specialist School and College; Glebelands County Secondary School; Rikkyo School, Rudgwick; Longacre School, Shamley Green; and Wonersh & Shamley Green Primary School.