Generous support for Trussell Trust brings joy at Christmas

Salisbury Journal: Boxes bring joy in Bulgaria Boxes bring joy in Bulgaria

THE Trussell Trust shoe box appeal is now in its 13th year and helps some of the poorest families and communities in Bulgaria, from orphanages and women’s refuges to the housebound elderly and rural schools. The boxes bring light, laughter and essential supplies to some of Europe’s poorest people, who are living in exceptionally tough conditions.

This year, thanks to the help of local communities, an astonishing 7,231 boxes were filled (up 10 per cent on last year), mainly from Wiltshire but also from Dorset and Hampshire.

The gifts were sorted by Trussell Trust volunteers and were taken to Bulgaria by the Salisbury-based charity to ensure that people who might otherwise get nothing at all for Christmas have a gift to open.

The shoeboxes are filled with age and gender specific gifts suitable for babies, children of all ages right through to grown men and women, and arrive at the Trussell Trust ready wrapped.

Claire Leeper, the Trussell Trust’s finance manager, joined Richard Parsons, the Bulgaria projects manager to give out the parcels.

She said: “It was so touching and humbling to meet people who were so incredibly grateful for these small gifts. One elderly man who’d had a stroke could barely stand up. He said he felt useless now that he’s old and he cried when he received his box, repeatedly saying ‘thank you so much for not forgetting us.’ Another bed-ridden elderly lady held my hand and sang me a song as a thank you.”

“It is shocking how many children live in orphanages in Bulgaria, and it is amazing to be able to bring a little hope and love to children who have been abandoned. It's also so important that we build relationships with orphanages and communities so that our in-country team can help people break out of poverty in the longer term.”

To read more about the two weeks spent delivering the gifts in Bulgaria go to

* CHRISTMAS Trussell Trust prize draw trolley shop winner Nicola Hankey won a £500 trolley dash around Waitrose.

Mrs Hankey decided to donate £100 of her winnings to the Trussell Trust and to share her shopping with family, friends and neighbours.

Mark Elling from the Trussell Trust said: “I think this is very touching and entirely in the spirit of what we do – helping others in their time of need.”

Tony Madden, from React IT, which sponsored the draw, said: “I must say that it was rather heart-warming to be told by the winner of the £500 that she wanted to donate £100 to the trust and that she would be spending the rest on gifts and food produce for friends and family, rather than on herself.

“The whole event felt selfless and triumphant."


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