How did it Start
The scheme started in 1994, when Rotary Clubs in Rotary District 1280 (Now District 1285) (north and west of Manchester plus the Isle of Man) started collecting shoeboxes full of gifts for the people of Iasi in Romania.
PDG Val Scerri was the initial catalyst for this, having links with Spurgeons Child Care Organisation who already had children’s homes in Romania. It was obvious that there was a great need for basic items which we take for granted in our daily lives and for toys for the children.
Initial help from Rotary also included building a Kindergarten in Iasi (pronounced Yash – a large city of in the north-east of Romania). The shoebox scheme became a Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland supported project in 1997.
In 1998 the Trustees tied in with International Aid Trust, having use of their warehouse, transport and contacts. In 1999 we became involved with ‘Hope and Homes’ distributing boxes in Romania and Ukraine.
Currently, some 50,000 boxes each year are being sent to countries including Romania, Ukraine, Albania, Moldova,