Luton businesswoman and mum Laura Kennedy (right) is one of Operation Christmas Child’s greatest supporters.
She’s been filling shoeboxes with gifts for needy children for more than 15 years.
But it was going to Serbia as a volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse – the charity behind the campaign – that really opened her eyes to the desperate plight of young recipients.
“I was gobsmacked,” she said. “Families live in cardboard boxes in mud rivers under the motorway.
“Many of the children had never seen toys before and didn’t know how to play with them. They treasured everything.
“You have to be strong when you’re there, you don’t let them see how much it affects you. But I felt terrible when I came home.”
Now the mum-of-two gets really cross when she encounters greedy and ungrateful youngsters here.
She gives talks about what to put in shoeboxes and why they’re so important. And she made a plea for Herald&Post readers to fill boxes for boys aged 10 to 14, the most neglected group.
Her suggestions include tennis balls, mouth organs and cars as well as cuddly toys: “Because if you’ve lost both parents, you need something to comfort you.”
> For more information call Bev Creagh on 01582 798513.