Ukrainian Shoebox Appeal 2023

Cranleigh Rotarians have recently packed cartons full of Christmas shoeboxes for despatch to Ukraine. 

365 shoeboxes, filled with gifts for children, were collected from local schools, with another 59 contributed by the local community. Additional donations included knitted items,  men's clothing and blankets. 

All of these were stored temporarily in the premises of Riding for the Disabled on the outskirts of Cranleigh.

Members of Cranleigh Rotary then sorted the shoeboxes according to gender and age group before packing them in 44 cardboard ‘cartons’.  

Four additional cartons for ‘non-children’ were also loaded onto the truck that was to deliver them to Irpin in Ukraine.   

Shoeboxes 2023 (1)Shoeboxes 2023 (2)


Here is a letter of thanks from Cranleigh Rotary's President, David Barry.

Over many years, Cranleigh residents have been very keen supporters of the shoebox campaigns, a keenness that reflects a well-known human fact that “There are two beneficiaries associated with every gift, namely the recipient and the donor’. Indeed, in the case of gift-filled shoeboxes for children, there is usually a further humanitarian benefit, namely that donors’ children can be directly involved in the gift-selection and packing actions and so, most likely, increase their appreciation of the existence of ‘less privileged children’.

It might be asked why Rotary has this year chosen Irpin in Ukraine (adjacent to Kyiv) as the principal beneficiary community for our campaign, when campaigns for many years were directed at a then quite impoverished Romania.
However, over the past 18 months or so, Cranleigh has developed many direct family links with residents of that area of Ukraine. This quite recent situation was founded principally on the fact the residents of the Irpin area, and its neighbouring city Bucha, were subjected to intense military bombardment in early 2022, and the fact that there has been a Cranleigh-Irpin family link for several years.

Eight local schools were able to participate this year and their total number of gift-filled shoeboxes amounted to 365, with a further 59 added by members of local churches or other bodies/individuals in the community. We also had some magnificent knitted scarves, bonnets and gloves, as well as some high-quality men’s clothing. All will be welcomed in Ukraine.

We are most grateful to Riding for the Disabled for the use of their barn on Rowly Drive for storage.
A van loaded with about 40 cartons of gifts left Cranleigh for Ukraine on Monday, 20 November.
Eight local schools donated boxes: Cranleigh C of E Primary; Park Mead Primary; Cranleigh Preparatory; Cranleigh School; St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Primary; Glebelands County Secondary; Rikkyo; Duke of Kent.
Local organisations/companies that helped Cranleigh Rotary achieve their objective were RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association); Bournes Removals; Surrey Hills Removals; and Celebration Cakes.
Again, many, many thanks to all participants.                                                                
David Barry (President)