Words by Lily Pritchard
Orphans in Eastern Europe will receive gifts this Christmas thanks to the efforts of volunteers and young offenders from East Sussex.
The Love In A Box project is run by Eastbourne charity the Mustard Seed Relief Mission. Every year, East Sussex County Council’s youth offending service supports them.
Young offenders help sort out all the donated items at the charity’s warehouse in Eastbourne, packing boxes with basic items such as toiletries, hats, scarves, sweets and toys.
They then help pack the boxes securely ready to be loaded onto trucks, driven by volunteers, for the long road trip overseas to Bosnia and Ukraine.
The gifts, which are donated by local schools, churches and voluntary organisations, are the only presents the youngsters, aged between three and fifteen receive at Christmas.
Councillor Sylvia Tidy, lead member for children and families, said: “This scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for young people who have been in trouble in the past to do something really positive and rewarding.
“Some tell us they have never worked so hard but they really enjoy working alongside volunteers and are treated as part of the team. It helps them develop positive relationships and boosts their confidence and self-esteem.”
Anyone who would like to work as a volunteer with the reparation team is asked to contact Ben Wyatt by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Mustard Seed Relief Mission is available on the charity’s website.