Rotarians in Dorset have praised care home residents for a record response to their annual appeal to help disadvantaged children.
Residents at 21 Colten Care homes across the south filled 240 shoeboxes with Christmas gifts, their highest ever total.
And they achieved it despite Covid restrictions making the whole logistical exercise of collecting and packing the boxes more complex than usual.
The gifts include toys, gloves, scarves and hand puppets with some items personally handknitted by residents.
As in previous years, the presents will help brighten up Christmas for impoverished children living in desperate conditions in parts of Albania, Montenegro, Moldova and Romania.
Speaking at Bourne View in Poole, where all the homes’ boxes were gathered for collection, Neal Curtis, International Committee Chair at Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club, said: “Despite the obvious concerns over the feasibility of operating the scheme in the light of the Covid epidemic it was considered particularly important to support the children in these difficult times.
“We need not have worried because the support we have received from Colten Care residents and staff, and from local schools, has been tremendous.
“We have already collected more boxes than ever before. What could have been a very disappointing year will actually be a bumper year, giving so much pleasure to hundreds of underprivileged children.
“Thank you to Colten Care for your wonderful support notwithstanding the difficult circumstances.”
To ensure this year’s collection was Covid-safe, all 21 homes did their preparations earlier than usual with individual items and boxes sanitised and put in quarantine. Following collection, the Rotary Club is also taking extra storage and sanitising precautions.
Bourne View resident Ena Potter said: “We take so much for granted in our daily lives while many of these children are experiencing heartbreaking poverty. It’s only right that we do our bit to help.”
Ena’s thoughts were echoed by Senior Companionship Team Leader Donia O’Connor who said: “Our residents are always happy to support the Rotary appeal and it was amazing to see the whole collection assembled at Bourne View. We all hope our gifts will provide some joy and hope to the children.”