JOHN MCAREAVEY LAUNCHES THE ANNUAL TEAM HOPE CHRISTMAS SHOEBOX APPEAL

Friday September 30th 2016

Jill Kinsey, founder of the Pulane Children’s Centre in Lesotho, and John McAreavey, Co-Founder of Michaela Foundation, arrived in Dublin today to join forces with shoebox recipient 13 year old Maggie Ivanov to officially launch the annual Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal.

The Team Hope ambassadors are calling on families, schools, community groups and businesses across the country to share the gift of hope with needy children by donating a gift-filled shoebox by 11th November.

Having beaten all expectations last year with 212,002 shoeboxes donated, the bar is being raised again in 2016. This year every box counts as Team Hope aims to collect even more shoeboxes to ensure that even more deserving children experience the joy of receiving a gift.

Speaking at the launch, John McAreavey said:  “This year we were delighted to roll out the Appeal through our Michaela Foundation camps and show children the importance of giving to other children less fortunate than themselves. Teaching the importance of selflessness and generosity at a young age is such a valuable skill and the Shoebox Appeal is a fun and impactful way for children to learn the power of sharing and giving back’’.

“I am really delighted about the response our volunteers and Campettes had to this initiative; they really enjoyed putting the boxes together and understood the significance of what they were doing. We hope to build on this for the future.”

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Known as the ‘Grandmother’ of the Pulane Children’s Centre in Lesotho, which currently provides a home to 85 children, Jill Kinsey said: “I have witnessed time and time again the profound effect that a gift-filled shoebox can make to the life of a child who has absolutely nothing. Team Hope delivers more than shoeboxes, they deliver joy and hope, and for me, there’s no better gift that you can give.”

With an ever-growing number of children affected by poverty, this year will see Team Hope delivering shoeboxes to more countries than ever before. For many children whose families live on less than €1 a day, a shoebox is the only gift they will receive this Christmas.

Niall Barry, Executive Director of Team Hope, added: “We set an ambitious target for shoeboxes every year, which we will strive to deliver this year with the fantastic support of our media partners, TV3’s Ireland AM and the tireless work of our volunteers across the country. But in reality, we will never have enough shoeboxes to give to every child who needs one. So our message to the nation is that really and truly every single shoebox counts.”

To get involved in the 2016 Shoebox Appeal, simply wrap a shoebox with Christmas paper, then fill it with gifts for a child, attach €4 and bring it to a local drop-off point before Friday, November 11th.

There are 400 drop off points nationwide, including all Axa, FastFit/FirstStop branches and Toymaster stores. To find your nearest drop-off point visit http://www.teamhope.ie. Suggestions for what can be put in the shoeboxes include pens, pencils, colouring books, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, a small item of clothing and a treat.

In the receiving country Team Hope’s network of partners delivers the shoebox gifts right into a child’s hands – in hospitals, schools, shelters, churches, orphanages, community centres or family homes.

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For more information about the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, or to get involved visit www.teamhope.ie, follow Team Hope on Facebook at www.facebook.com/team.hope.ireland and Twitter @TeamHopeIreland #AMteamshoebox #everyboxcounts