Giving thanks for raising hope

Laois Branch of Team Hope would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to our recent shoebox appeal.

Laois Branch of Team Hope would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to our recent shoebox appeal.

In all, 4,147 shoeboxes left Co. Laois bound for Romania last week. They are due to arrive at their destination within the coming weeks. These gift filled shoeboxes will bring so much joy to some of Romania’s poorest children, through schools, orphanages, churches and visits to family homes.

The childrens’ faces are a mixture of joy, excitement, laughter and smiles. They race to try on their new hats and scarves or talk excitedly to each other about the treasures they have found in their box. For many, their shoebox is the first gift they have ever received and it amazes them, so much so, they are moved to tears by the generosity of Irish people.

In our own economic conditions, it is phenomenal that the people of Laois continue to support us so well and we are truly grateful. The sacrifices families make so they can donate a box doesn’t go unnoticed and it gives us great pride to speak about the generosity of spirit central to our nation while we go explore theirs.

It is wonderful to see so many of our primary schools involved and the love and care our children put into their shoeboxes. Every year, we see Christmas Cards, drawings, little notes, stamps or stickers sent from the children of Laois for the recipient of their shoebox. We would like to thank each and every child and their parents/guardians who donated shoeboxes.

A word of thanks also for the preschool personnel, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Leaders as well as after school caregivers. So many of our boxes come through the encouragement and dedication you provide.

We thank all the Companies and organisations of Laois who participated. We received so much support from organisations such as Laois ICA, Mothers Union , Girl Guides, G.F.S., Boy Scouts and the Brownies. We would like to send our appreciation to the Laois Chapter of BNI, the business mens’ group were very supportive as were Laois County Council, ESB, Eircom, Department of Agriculture and many more. Many businesses and organisations are struggling at this time, but year after year, the people of Laois always lend us so much support.

Our thanks to those who donated toys, clothing and money to assist this cause. It is much appreciated particularly in these difficult economic times.

A huge thank you to all at Parkside Shopping Centre, to John Grace for the use of his excellent facilities and for all the assistance John’s team, Ciaran and Riaz always give us throughout the project.

A special word of thanks also to all in Superquinn and The Streat Cafe, who have been so kind to us again this year. Our deepest gratitude must always go to the terrific team of volunteers who turn out every year to check and pack boxes, it is hard work and you all participate with enthusiasm and good humour.

Finally, thank you to Rathdowney Macra and all the men who turned out to load cartons making sure the shoeboxes left Laois for Dublin Port. We are all very grateful you were there on the night!!.

As we find ourselves almost at Christmas, so many of us can give thanks for our part in helping to make Christmas for a deprived child in Romania. We look forward to doing it all again next year, but, for now, thank you all, merry Christmas and every best wish for 2013.