"Awesome" "Epic" "Overwhelming" "Amazing" "Dramatic" "Inspirational"
That was how the pupils of Bishopthorpe Junior School described the culmination of nearly two months efforts - the day the shoe boxes were packed and stacked ready for collection!
"We collected; we counted; we sorted; we wrapped; we packed; we loaded; we waved them off"
Beginning in the second week of term the children of AYJS took responsibility for collecting their own items and empty boxes and for receiving items and boxes donated by the Bishopthohrpe community. They then sorted the items into categories such as toys, toiletries, hats, stationery and ages, storing everything in large boxes. They kept regular count so that short falls could be identified. With the help of adults from the Church, from the Bishopthorpe community and from the Palace on four Monday afternoons boxes were wrapped in colourful Christmas paper (that's the tricky part!)
The school Harvest Festival, held on October 18 in St Andrew's Church focused on Shoeboxes, and every child brough one thing for a box with the result that 3 more large storage boxes were filled. On the following Sunday some representatives from the school were at the Church again to lead the Family Serviced which they based on the concept of the uncondtional gift. It was a joy to be at these Services.
Finally on Monday 22nd October, the boxes were filled with a selection of appropriate items. The pupils worked at stations with each box being packed by two children, fetching suitable items for the age of the child for whom they were packing, with Year 6 team leaders keeping an eye on the smooth running of everything. Some larger family boxes were also packed. Their target was 220, representing approximately the number of pupils in the school. And every pupil in the school had made a Christmas card for a box. Each time 50 boxes had been filled everyone got a biscuit (and a cup f tea for the adults)
When the final count came there was a loud cheer, a wonderful 263, and by the next day when the boxes were collected by the local representative of Children in Distress there were 265. As they waved the van off, some of the children said they would quite like to have gone with them! They had enjoyed working with the adults, they had enjoyed the whole buisness of getting the boxes ready for sending to Romania in time for Christmas, and they had especially enjoyed knowing that they were sending presents that bring love - 'love in a box' - and hope to those in great need and often in serious distress.
Thanks to Sally Sutton for overseeing the work at the school, to Alison Jones for encouraging the community, to all who helped in any way whatsoever, and to all those who donated items and money. Can we beat 265 next year? With your help we can!!