VOLUNTEERS from Stratford have ensured poor families in Romania can enjoy Christmas.
A team from Stratford have just returned from a charity mission to Eastern Europe to deliver 350 Christmas care packages to Romanian families – some of which travelled the country while others lived in villages.
Malcolm and Anne McCulloch led a team of eight people to a base in Sighisoara in central Romania to present gift-filled shoeboxes – put together by townspeople and schools in Stratford and filled with presents and useful items to help make their lives better.
The team – some of which visited Romania a few years ago to help build and repair houses and to connect with church groups in the country – had to deal with some tough conditions to get their deliveries through – from heavy mud left by previous flooding to snow in some of the higher villages.
The weather did not slow them down and the team was determined to make sure these shoeboxes reached their destination.
On the trip the McCullochs were able to see how they lived and how these shoeboxes would make a difference.
Anne told The Observer: “It was great to see so much support for our mission. Some of these shoeboxes will be the only present these families and children to receive and to see the difference it makes in there lives is really special to see.”
The shoeboxes contained everyday items such as soap and toothpaste, which may not seem much to many in Britain, but to the families in Romania they were considered luxury items.
Children in the villages also received sweets and small toys.
Anne told us how one little boy who was given a gift tried to give it back to the McCullochs – not realising it was his gift and for him to keep.
She added: “After seeing the impact such simple items can make we definitely want to try and repeat our success next year and bring more support to these families.”
The team, working with the Amen Trust, a church charity group which helps arrange projects like the shoebox campaign all around the world, is hoping for even more support next year.
Christmas smile – A delighted youngster clutches his present. (s)
Malcolm McCulloch presents donated Christmas gifts to a Romanian family. (s).