Residents from Colten Care homes have filled over 200 shoeboxes with gifts for disadvantaged children in Romania this Christmas.
The boxes, which have been packed with soft toys, warm gloves, scarves, books and toiletries were handed over to Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club, which is collecting shoeboxes across the district for distribution in Eastern Europe.
Colten Care’s Senior Companionship Team Leader Donia O’Connor said: “When the Rotary invited us to make some shoebox donations I knew our residents would be glad to help, but it’s stunning to stand here surrounded by the many wonderful boxes they have created.”
Donia continued: “Chris Bazell and Neal Curtis from Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club explained to us that our boxes will be delivered to Romania and distributed, with the help of the local police, to the children who live in a huge Romany camp there.
“The residents were heartbroken to hear of the poverty these children experience every day. There are no toilets to speak of and most of the children don’t have shoes, let alone Christmas presents.
“I think Christmas will mean even more to all of this year knowing that children will be opening and enjoying our gifts.”
Chris Bazell President of Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club said: “We are deeply grateful to Colten Care’s residents for their generosity in this shoebox campaign.
“Together with other Rotary clubs across Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight we collected 26,000 shoeboxes which were distributed to needy children last Christmas.
“This year we hope to collect even more, which will be distributed in five countries in Eastern Europe, including Romania.
“The time and care which has been put into making these boxes will bring real joy to many children.”
Shirley Wilson from Colten Care’s Avon Cliff was very happy to be involved with filling the boxes with various children’s toys and other personal care items.
She said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to provide such things for disadvantaged young children who have little or nothing at Christmas.”
Joyce Boswell and Liz Lewis, residents at Colten’s newest care home, Bourne View in Poole, agreed.
Joyce said: “Christmas is a joyous time and we all have so much. The Rotary have promised to take some pictures of the children opening the boxes we send and I think seeing that will be very emotional for all of us.”