EVERY year the people of Salisbury help to bring a smile to the faces of some of the most vulnerable people in eastern Europe at Christmas.

Last year residents donated a record-breaking 5,887 Christmas Shoeboxes to the Trussell Trust’s appeal to help bring some joy to men, women and children living in poverty in Bulgaria.

For many of these people the filled shoebox will be the only gift they get, and the charity is asking people to donate again this year. Bulgaria Operations Manager Rich Parsons said: “Despite the economic difficulties here in the UK, people really responded to last year’s appeal; we were stunned at the response. We were able to distribute shoeboxes to more orphanages, refugees and very poor families than ever before.

“The Trussell Trust hopes that people will dig deep again this year to help spread a little cheer to some of Europe’s poorest people.”

More than 8,500 children live in orphanages in Bulgaria and many more live in poverty.

“It is truly humbling to see parents who had nothing to give their children at Christmas completely overwhelmed with joy when they receive gifts for the whole family,” said Mr Parsons.

Christmas boxes are put together by people in the UK, each shoebox is wrapped in festive paper and filled with small gifts such as soap, stationery, gloves, hats, toys and sweets. The Trussell Trust distribute the boxes to orphanages, poor Roma communities, women’s refuges, refugee camps, prisoners’ children, poor rural schools and isolated elderly or disabled people.

Christmas Shoeboxes can be taken to The Trussell Trust offices at 6b Ashfield Trading Estate, Ashfield Road, Salisbury SP2 7HL or to the Trust’s shops in the High Street and next to St Michael’s Church, Bemerton Heath before November 20.

For more information visit trusselltrust.org or call 01722 580192.