‘It is heart-warming to see’ – Shoebox appeal makes successful return to Boston, helped by schoolchildren

An annual tradition which aims to spread festive cheer among disadvantaged people in Eastern Europe returned to Boston for 2021 after a year’s absence.

Year One children at Boston West Academy with some of the boxes filled in this year's appeal.
Year One children at Boston West Academy with some of the boxes filled in this year's appeal.

For more than 20 years, the Boston St Botolph Rotary Club has organised a Christmas shoebox appeal in the town.

The scheme involves members of the public collecting a special shoebox from the club and then returning it filled with small gifts.

These can be for children, teenagers, older people and families or babies.

The shoeboxes are then transported by the club to Eastern Europe through the Rotary organisation or trusted partners to those in need. Due to Covid-19, the appeal could not go ahead last year, but as Rotarian John Wright explained it returned in 2021 with renewed vigour.

“Local primary schools, the Methodist Church in Boston, and the club itself were determined to help and put matters right by filling boxes with such things as toys, baby clothes, household items, or toiletry,” he said.

“It may be thought, by some, that Eastern Europeans might be neither needy nor deserving, but many Boston children and families thought otherwise,” he continued. “They rallied to help Rotary by filling more shoeboxes for Christmas 2021 than in 2019, a grand effort.”

In addition to the churches’ 79 shoeboxes, Boston West, Fishtoft and Staniland Academies filled another 187 in support of the appeal.

“It is heart-warming to see how the children responded to the appeal and enjoyed making a difference for someone that they will never meet nor ever know,” John added.