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A decade of supporting Operation Christmas Child

December 13, 2016 by David Turner

National engineering and asset management specialist Briggs Equipment is celebrating 10 years of support for a charity initiative dedicated to spreading a little Christmas cheer to disadvantaged children around the globe.

Samaritan’s Purse UK provides emergency relief to Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and works with communities on issues such as water and sanitation. Each year, the international relief and development organisation distributes gift parcels to youngsters aged between two and 14 years as part of Operation Christmas Child.

Briggs first became involved with the project in 2007 and this year helped out by providing two forklifts and two pallet trucks on free loan from its extensive short-term hire fleet.

Members of the public support Operation Christmas Child by filling a shoebox with gifts. These gifts include toys, clothing, brushes and combs, toothpaste, soap, wind up torches and a variety of school supplies. Around a million boxes are donated each year, so distribution is a huge undertaking to ensure they reach the various destinations at the designated time.

Shoeboxes are collected from drop off points at schools and churches around the country and are then taken to regional depots. Typically, these are warehouses owned by local companies that are made available to Samaritan’s Purse free of charge to support the appeal.  Here, boxes are checked for export before being packed into cartons and loaded on to pallets for shipping to the charity’s distribution partners.

One counterbalance forklift and a pallet truck were put to work at a depot in Thame, Oxfordshire. Marie Coney, a volunteer warehouse manager for Samaritan’s Purse, says they are handling more boxes than ever and the equipment has proved invaluable.

“This year, we anticipate despatching around 40,000 shoeboxes full of toys and other essentials to six different countries and they all need to be stacked on pallets and then loaded onto the trucks,” she explained.

“This process is a vital part of a shoebox’s journey and we just couldn’t manage it without forklift trucks. We’re busier than ever this year, so the trucks have been an absolute godsend and we’re really grateful to Briggs for their support.”

A second forklift and pallet truck were on loan to the charity’s Liverpool warehouse, which has also been busy processing shoeboxes of gifts donated by the general public, schools, churches and other associations across the UK.

Allan Parsons, National Rental Manager at Briggs Equipment, said: “A small shoebox can have a huge impact on youngsters who usually have very little.  It’s therefore a pleasure to lend our support to this important project and help Samaritan’s Purse spread a little joy to some of the world’s most needy children at Christmas.”