Checking centres come in all shapes and sizes but they have one thing in common – they are crammed with shoeboxes full of gifts. They are boxes full of love just waiting to be checked, packed and shipped off to a boy or girl. Each box putting a smile on their faces “For me it means that every person that comes into the checking centre has an important job to do. They are valued member of our big team. The schools have been rung, assemblies spoken in and businesses contacted. The shoebox gifts keep pilling in as the van drivers make plenty of journeys to collect them”. Some people cover empty shoeboxes, most bring in full shoeboxes. Some people love to check the boxes, some like to seal them and for me I like to pack them in the cartons, some volunteers sort the recycling – there is a place and a job for everyone. I have friends that make Barbie clothes, some make teddies, knitting needles click and clack all year round to produce warm hats, scarves and some collect tennis balls from their tennis clubs (which I wash). The checking centres are a hive of activity with volunteers but most of them I think will agree with me that friendships are made while volunteering and somehow you get more out it than you put into it. The morning and evening cups of tea keep us all going (and talking!) Finally the truck arrives to be filled. It is then we rely on strong fit men who help load the trucks. Real team work is needed as they load the trucks sometimes in wet or freezing weather. Volunteers are counting the amount of boxes loaded into the trucks and quickly tallying the numbers.
Paperwork done and the boxes are off on their journey as the prayers go up. Prayers that they will have an uneventful journey and will quickly reach the children. I am so glad I am a part of this team, knowing that we have sent love and produced smiles.