The Clarke Family pictured delivering 450 Shoeboxes for the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal in Cootehill in memory of their mum, the late Agnes Clarke from Killinkere. From left: Standing Betty, Marylou, Paul, Marcella, Charles and Noeleen; kneeling, Hazel Speares and Edna Smith, Team Hope co-ordinators for Co Cavan.

Honouring their mother’s memory

TEAM HOPE 450 Christmas shoeboxes from one family

A mother’s love for giving to children in poverty was honoured by members of her family when the Clarkes delivered 450 shoeboxes for the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal.

The family made the donation in memory of their late mum Agnes Clarke.

Hazel Spears is the local co-ordinator with Team Hope. “Agnes passed away a couple of years ago,” she told the Celt.

“Agnes would put together and donate a couple of hundred shoeboxes every year. She loved doing it. She spent her time, from one year to the next, putting together the shoeboxes. She would wrap each box meticulously, it is a charity she had a great love for.”

In 2010 Team Hope came together with the goal of helping disadvantaged children in some of the poorest areas in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal is one of the initiatives that is most popular.

Hazel said the Clarke family’s efforts will be greatly appreciated by the children who receive the gifts: “It’s a lot of work and a lot of expense. Aside from the content each shoebox has to have €4 paid for the transportation of it. The boxes find a worthy home every year.”

Filling a shoebox can be a very personal and thoughtful process. The idea is to include some essentials with some fun bits.

The donor then decides who the gift box is for - a girl or boy aged between two and 14 years. The box can contain any gift items such as writing/colour materials and stationery, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste and facecloths. Small items of clothing are also popular such as socks, as well as cuddly toys, skipping ropes, a yo-yo, sweets (that do not go out of date for at least six months), small musical instruments, photo of you and your family, toy car, doll, ball and stickers.

Hazel said the gifts will be gratefully received: “The last consignment went to Albania. They [the boxes] will always find a good home with children who will appreciate them.”

There are a number of drop-off points around the county to facilitate the sending of the Christmas Shoeboxes.

You can drop a box at any Dealz, Bailie Stores (Bailieborough), Cara Pharmacy (Ballyconnell), JB Hope ( Cavan Town), Pricewise (Cootehill), Toymaster (Cavan), SNS Hardware Ltd ( Mountain Lodge) and Cian’s Tech World (Tesco Shopping Centre, Cavan Town).