Sixth-former’s initiative will bring Christmas joy to underprivileged children

Photo of Ellie Harriss with the 44 shoeboxes she collected.

More than forty underprivileged children in overseas countries affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine or disease will soon receive a gift-wrapped package of toys and useful items thanks to the efforts of a Bradley Stoke sixth former.

Ellie Harriss, 16, a Post-16 student at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS), originally aimed to collect donations to fill 20 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child a project run by Christian international relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse. But by the time she came to drop the finished boxes off a collection point in Bristol, she had amassed an astonishing total of 44!

Inspired by film footage she had seen of children opening Christmas shoeboxes and seeing how happy and grateful they were to receive them, Ellie researched the charity behind the scheme and says she become more aware of their desire to help less fortunate children.

The 44 shoeboxes assembled by Ellie were filled with a selection of fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies. Many additionally contained a special item that a child would love, such as a doll or cuddly toy.

Content for the shoeboxes was sourced from family and friends over a two-week period, with social media being used extensively to spread the message.

Speaking about her achievement to the Journal, Ellie said:

“Christmas is a time for showing your love, and there is one way to show it through kindness and generosity. One simple shoebox packed with fun and practical items can turn a child’s day, month or even year into something special. I encouraged all of my friends and family to donate what they could, to make a child who is less fortunate smile this festive season. Many of my friends were eager to get involved and I am so thankful to everyone who took part. I hope that you are all up for it again next year!”

One of Ellie’s teachers at BSCS, Sophie Large, commented:

“I find it extremely heart-warming that Ellie has taken the initiative and time to support the shoebox appeal to help those in need. Ellie is a very compassionate person and always thinks of others. In today’s current climate I think it is wonderful that young people like Ellie are carrying out such wonderfully selfless acts. We are all very proud of Ellie here at BSCS.”

Photo: Ellie Harriss with the 44 finished shoeboxes.

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 20). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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