THOUSANDS of boxes full of gifts for children abroad have set off from Wrexham.
The departure this week saw more than 8,000 shoeboxes leave the Teams4U warehouse in Llay to make their three day voyage to northern Romania.
More than 30 volunteers helped load the wagon and send it on its way to surprise many children with an unexpected gift this Christmas.
Today T4U will send a further load to children in Minsk, Belarus.
Ziz York, shoebox coordinator for the charity, said: “Although much has changed in these countries over the last 27 years of the shoebox initiative, some members of society are still marginalised and live in extreme poverty.
“It can be harrowing and paradoxical to see children in rags coming out of make-shift homes, running towards us, bare-footed across ice and mud, so excited to see the vans carrying the shoeboxes.
“We will have driven through beautiful first world cities decked in Christmas lights to arrive in these communities often living on refuse sites or by disused railway lines. Their faces and their smiles never leave you”.
Teams4U relies on the goodwill and support of the local community.
This year more than 16,000 shoeboxes will travel to Eastern Europe from Wrexham, part of a national program that will send over 36,000 Christmas gifts to children and families in the Ukraine, Romania and Belarus.
Dave Cooke, founder of T4U, said: “People are just so generous. They believe in what we do and that’s how we survive.
”We would like to thank everyone who has got involved, from companies to schools, knitting groups and churches, we simply couldn’t have done it without you.”
The warehouse on Miners Road in Llay Industrial Estate will remain open until Friday to receive your shoebox gifts.
For more information, contact 01978 310110 or visit the website at www.teams4u.com
See full story in the Leader