Support Team Hope Christmas Appeal online this year

The annual Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal has moved for the first time to an online-only appeal for 2020 and people are being asked to #TeamUpForTeamHope by donating gift-filled shoeboxes for children affected by poverty for €20 at www.teamhope.ie.

Schools, families, friends, communities and businesses across the county are encouraged to work together, in whatever way they can safely, to donate as many shoeboxes as possible up until 23 December and celebrate their efforts during the first ever Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal Week, on 9-15 November.

Team Hope CEO, Peter Heaney, said: “Due to the effects of Covid-19 restrictions, it is not possible to send gift-filled shoeboxes from Ireland this year. But we know that the need for shoeboxes is greater than ever.

"So we have for the first time moved the campaign completely online, developed a brand new website to facilitate building a box and enlisted the help of our local partners in Africa and Eastern Europe to create and deliver shoeboxes on the ground.”

Jean Gill, Offaly's Christmas Shoebox Appeal Coordinator added: “The people of Offaly have always been great supporters of the Shoebox Appeal and this year, more than ever, every shoebox counts.

“The Covid-19 crisis has presented huge challenges for people throughout the country, so you can only imagine the immeasurable impact that Covid-19 has had in countries where basic sanitation and access to education is far from universal.

"This is a pivotal moment for us all to reflect, not about how we fill a shoebox, but why we do shoeboxes and the importance of basic education, self-care, warmth and joy for a child affected by poverty,” she said.

Irish Women’s Hockey International Elena Tice reprises her role as a Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal ambassador in 2020. With her Olympic journey postponed, Elena has been working hard with her team to keep their training on track and have been rallying around to support each other.

Elena said: “Building a team around you is so important and I would be lost without the support of mine. The ethos of #TeamUpForTeamHope is key because we all need to lean on each other at some point, but some people are less fortunate and need a little more help. Everyone has the ability to work together to make a difference, no effort is too small.”

The new website at www.teamhope.ie allows people to build-a-box online, personalise it by uploading a picture or image, and select gift items they would like to include, for example:

Wear: Gloves, Hat, Scarf, Socks, Top, Underwear

Wash: Comb, Soap, Sponge, Toothbrush & Toothpaste, Washcloth

Write: Colouring Pencils, Notepad, Writing accessories

Wow: Fun Trinkets, Musical Toys, Puzzles, Soft Toy, ball, fun sunglasses

The online shoebox donations will allow Team Hope’s network of local partners in Africa and Eastern Europe to purchase items for shoeboxes, which will then be delivered directly into the hands of children. Often these shoeboxes are the only gift that a child will receive at Christmas.

During the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal Week, everyone is encouraged to celebrate the Christmas Shoebox Appeal by building/packing shoeboxes online, sharing pictures on social media, coordinating fundraisers to purchase shoeboxes, and learning about the Appeal and the importance of giving.

Team Hope’s aim in 2020 is to deliver as many shoeboxes as possible to children in Romania, Transnistria (Moldova), Ukraine, Kosova, Albania, Belarus, Burundi, Democratic Republic Congo, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Malawi, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Rwanda.

For more information about the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, please visit www.teamhope.ie. Team Hope also provides a range of free lesson plans and online resources for schools and businesses to help you get started.

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