Shoeboxes have been arriving over the last three weeks at the church where we check and pack them ready for export.
Some are delivered in person straight to the church.
Others are collected from schools and churches by our volunteers. They often get help from the schoolchildren.
(Love the furry boots!)
Many collections are made by private car...
... and I got 122 boxes in mine once!
Sometimes we were lucky enough to have the use of a van or mini-bus, kindly donated to us by a local company called Vision Vehicle Solutions.
This mini-bus was full to the brim...
... and it took quite a while to unload all 840 boxes!
Two men went out collecting in the van...
... but I'm not sure where the passenger sat on the return trip!
In the end, all the boxes were stacked up...
... and the room made ready for the next day's checking.
Last Friday was probably our busiest day ever...
... all the checkers tables were full, and the carton packers struggled to keep up...
...but in the end, we exceeded the total number of boxes from last year!
So there were smiles all around from the team!
That day, we processed a record 886 shoeboxes!
The cartons were stacked in the church...
... and in the corridor...
... awaiting collection ...
... to go to the export warehouse in Eastleigh, near Southampton.
The final consignment was collected today...
... and a grand total....
... of 7385 shoeboxes have passed through our doors and are now on their way to needy children in Swaziland, Bosnia, Serbia, Romania and Ukraine.
My thanks go to all the willing helpers - our team of organisers,
knitters and crafters,
Also thanks go
to local schools and churches and other organisations whose pupils or members have made shoeboxes,
to local businesses for giving assistance in various ways,
to Samaritan's Purse for the support and organisation they provide,
and to the Maidenhead URC Church who allow us to use their premises for this worthy cause each year.
Without this fantastic team effort, none of this would be possible.
Thank you everyone!