By Jennifer Meierhans
THOUANDS of shoeboxes full of presents for underpriveleged children are being loaded onto lorries in Kidderminster, ready to be sent to Belarus.
The Shuttle office was a drop-off point for Operation Christmas Child boxes, a campaign run by Samaritan's Purse.
Vans are picking up the presents from drop-off points around the area and taking them to the warehouse, in Lisle Avenue.
Area collections co-ordinator, Geoff Dellbridge, said: "We won't know the total number of boxes until next week but they are still coming into the warehouse. I would estimate we will end up with between 12,000 and 14,000 shoeboxes."
He added: "Youth groups, Guides, Scouts and Boys and Girls Brigades help unload the van and sort the boxes into different piles.
"I am really pleased about it as it gets them involved. They are happy to do it and they do make a big difference."
Area co-ordinator, Shirley Butcher, said: "It has gone well. The quality of the shoeboxes that have come in has been very good. We are hoping the first lorry will be leaving Kidderminster next Tuesday."
She added: "We haven't got as many as last year but I don't think that is any different for any other charity."
A group of 16 retired women, who met whilst working at Sutton Park First School, completed a total of 232 shoeboxes, after working on them all year.
Group member, Jean Barrie said: "It's not the most we have done but everything has been more expensive this year."
She added: "We were very pleased because a lot of friends have sponsored boxes and given us presents for them all year. It really is a group effort and every box was absolutely full to the brim."
Any completed shoeboxes can still be dropped off at the warehouse, at 8 Lisle Avenue, which will be open until Tuesday, November 30, from 10am to 8.30pm. More information can be found by visiting operationchristmaschild.org.uk