A Barclays Wealth and Investment Management employee in the Isle of Man has been congratulated for dedicating her own time to organising Operation Christmas Child collections for the past six years.
Analyst Alexandra Hall has overseen the collection of more than 300 shoeboxes packed with gifts for children in the poorest nations around the world since getting involved in 2008.
Initially, Alexandra coordinated the collection of packed shoeboxes for the Samaritan’s Purse appeal, but for the past two Christmases she has sourced gifts on behalf of her colleagues, as well as wrapping and posting the parcels herself. This year, her sister, Felicity, who has recently become a Barclays’ employee, has also assisted.
She explained: “I have been organising Operation Christmas Child through work since 2008. In 2012 I decided to collate money donated by colleagues and buy the products myself, then pack and wrap the boxes. I did this because when I received feedback from my colleagues as to why they hadn’t donated a shoebox in previous years, it wasn’t because they didn’t want to help, it was because they struggled to find the time to complete it.”
“So, that is why I decided to make up the shoeboxes on behalf of my colleagues. I worked out that to fill a box costs about £10 and the P&P was £2.50, so I started collecting £12.50 each from as many colleagues as were willing to donate, then I used my weekends and lunch hours from September to October to bulk buy all the presents, pack and wrap the parcels.”
Ingeniously, Alexandra has also made use of cardboard waste from within Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, cutting down the boxes that the office paper is delivered in to the correct shoebox-style size and shape.
Operation Christmas Child was launched in 1993, asking people to pack gifts such as toys, school supplies, hygiene items and items like T-shirts and watches into shoeboxes for distribution to children in some of the world’s poorest countries. Since then, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have received a parcel packed with presents.
Alexandra said: “I decided to get involved in this charity because I know how much the gifts inside the boxes mean to the children in these poor countries. I pass the boxes on to Samaritan’s Purse, who then take the boxes to these countries and post videos and photos onto their website of the children opening their shoeboxes. They have previously sent photos directly to me.”
“My mum first told me about this charity and explained how little these children have, and how much these shoe boxes mean to them. The children even keep the actual shoebox as storage. She told me about one of the times the charity had gone out to visit the children and found two little girls living in the freezing cold. One of the girls had received a shoebox the previous year with a pair of gloves; she had given one glove to the other little girl so that they each had one glove each to keep one hand warm. This story is what really hit home with me and made me realise how important this charity is.”
“I will always try to organise Operation Christmas Child within my workplace, and also ensure there are a pair of gloves in every box!”
Simon Scott, Managing Director of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in the Isle of Man, said: “I’d like to congratulate and thank Alexandra on all her efforts supporting this very important charity project. She has given up her own time to ensure her colleagues are able to support he appeal, and that many, many children around the world have had something to smile about.”
“Her efforts reflect the very strong sense of community spirit and giving which we see across the entire Barclays Wealth and Investment Management business here in the Isle of Man, and as well as recognising Alexandra’s efforts I’d like to thank everyone who has made a donation towards Operation Christmas Child over the years.”