The gift of giving
20 December 2023
Orphaned children aged between 1-16 years old in Freetown, Sierra Leone received some extra festive cheer this December. Our Logistics colleagues and the British Armed Forces delivered 74 shoebox gifts to them, filled with toys, treats and essential school supplies.
The children were happy to receive the presents generously donated by FCDO Services colleagues and their friends.
The team organising the campaign were especially grateful this year, after the volume of donations the orphanage receives substantially dropped due to the cost of living crisis, affecting many communities and charities globally.
Where it all began
Our yearly shoebox appeal started back in 2016, in response to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa.
Members of the FCDO Services Logistics team were contacted by the Military Attaché in Freetown to help deliver their shoebox appeal gifts, along with donations of sports and play equipment.
However, after seeing the impact of the Ebola outbreak on the children for themselves, our team wanted to help further and organised a shoebox appeal across our own organisation.
We now keep this tradition every year, spreading joy by collecting and sending shoebox donations to the Freetown Orphanage. Over its time, we have proudly delivered around 1,260 shoebox gifts to them.
Not just for Christmas
Our organisation and its people are committed to supporting causes close to our hearts throughout the whole year.
This includes those affecting the local community in the areas around our headquarters in Milton Keynes.
In our workshops, we reduce and recycle as much as we can. As part of this effort, each year we donate our offcuts to a charity called Men in Sheds.
Men in Sheds aims to foster connections, conversation and creativity to reduce loneliness and isolation. The sheds provide somewhere to socialise and learn new skills too.
The materials we’ve donated include offcuts of plywood, acrylic and screws. These will be used for worthwhile projects in the local community.
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In October 2023, we proudly exhibited at the event to encourage more young girls and females into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers.