So... my estrangement from blogland has continued. But I cannot simply blame work, although that continues to be busy since we lost two people from the team to cover an urgent project elsewhere in the organisation (and are still expected to keep all the balls in the air!). Sure there are the usual never ending chores and the feeding and cleaning of my animal family but that's not just what has kept me away either. There have been two things that have kept me away. The first is organising things for the historical fencing club I am a member and administrator of. I have recently started a newsletter for the club and edited the first edition and am also organising a trip to an Armoury.
The second is that I have been filling shoe boxes. Every year, Operation Christmas Child, organised through Samaritans Purse send shoe boxes filled with little gifts to underprivileged children across the world. Children who would not otherwise receive anything for Christmas. Children who have very little of their own. I have been collecting bits and pieces all year and have managed to get enough things together to fill six shoe boxes (five of which are in the photo below). I also got the team at work involved and have been running things to raise money to buy more items and to cover the cost of sending the boxes. I hope to send 18 boxes this year.
The boxes are filled with the most basic of items. Things that are cheap to us, things that we take for granted like toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, soap and flannels, pencils, gloves and woolley hats and scarves. Pens and other stationary (some of these children cannot go to school unless they have their own stationary), little toys like yo-yos, playing cards, soft toys and toy cars. Some boxes go to families so poor that they take the wrapping paper off the boxes and decorate their home (a shack in a slum) with it. They use the box and the rubber band that holds the lid on. Nothing is wasted.
Why do I do this for children I will never meet? The reason is quite selfish I'm afraid. I do it in memory of my niece who was killed last year. I spend the money I can no longer spend on her on these children because I wanted something good to come from something so sad. I do it because I had wonderful Christmases as a child and I find it sad that some children don't get a Christmas. I do it because it makes me feel good. And really, in the world we live in these days, what's so bad about that?