Havering pupils donate hundreds of Christmas gifts to children in need

Gifts donated by Mary Girls' School

Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School has managed to donate more than 600 shoebox gifts to Operation Christmas Child for the past 17 years. - Credit: Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School

Schoolchildren have donated hundreds of Christmas gifts to other children in need as part of an annual charity project.  

Operation Christmas Child, organised by charity Samaritan’s Purse, aims to bring joy to thousands of children in deprived parts of the world who would not normally receive Christmas gifts.  

Taking part in the shoebox appeal for the past 17 years, pupils of Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School in Upminster collect more than 600 boxes yearly, according to its head of religious education, Pauline Treacy.   

Inside the shoeboxes, children pack toys, stationary, clothes and toiletries along with a Christmas card from the child who made it. 

Mrs Treacy said: “It is one of the many ways the pupils of Sacred Heart of Mary demonstrate their faith in a real living action. 

“We as a staff are always overwhelmed by their generosity and kindness.” 

Headteacher Vivienne Qurrey added: “I am so grateful to all our families who have supported Operation Christmas Child. 

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“It is so important in the advent season to show how we are all preparing for the coming of Christ by our actions.” 

Donated shoebox gifts

Sacred Heart of Mary's donated shoebox gifts. - Credit: Sacred Heart of Mary Girls' School

Sacred Heart student Ruby said: “Being a part of the Christmas shoebox appeal feels amazing; it’s great to know that these gifts will bring joy and put a smile on children's faces all over the world.”  

Pupil Sophia said the shoeboxes are her “favourite thing about the run up to Christmas”, while Imogen said the “worthwhile tradition” motivates them to “think of others during the advent season” and Jamie said the appeal helps “spread Christmas cheer”.

Also taking part in the shoebox appeal was pupils of St Edward’s Primary School in Romford, who donated 214 boxes to the cause.  

St Edward’s C of E Primary School

From left to right: St Edward's Primary School pupils Grace, Mark and George with their shoebox gifts. - Credit: St Edward’s C of E Primary School

St Edward’s pupil Mark, 10, said it is “important that we give other children in other countries an experience of a good Christmas”.

George, 9, said he enjoyed “filling my box with lots of things that may help other children have a good life and smile at Christmas”: “On Christmas day, I will be thinking all about them and what it must feel like for children who don't have anything.” 

Headteacher of St Edward’s Primary, Chris Speller, said: “We are so proud of our children.  

“We grow children who not only achieve excellently but also care about others and the impact that they have on the world.”