The deadline for the Team Hope Christmas shoebox appeal has been extended - so get packing quickly! 4 days ago

The deadline for the Team Hope Christmas shoebox appeal has been extended - so get packing quickly!

Help Team Hope reach two million shoeboxes!

There's been festive cheer spreading across the country in the past few weeks, as people in every county packed boxes for the Team Hope Christmas shoebox appeal. Collection centres have been filling with brightly coloured boxes – as the Her crew witnessed when we dropped our own carefully-wrapped creations off at our local collection post.

If you didn't manage to get your shoebox packed in time, however, don't worry – the deadline for donations has been extended! You now have until November 15 to pack your boxes and drop them off.

The charity is on course to see its two millionth shoebox collected this year, so we're asking you to pack a box and help to smash that target.

For the past 10 years, Team Hope has been delivering shoeboxes containing clothes, gifts, and sweets to children in need across Africa and Eastern Europe. Each shoebox will be sent to boys and girls aged between two and 14-years-old just before Christmas, so if you want to get involved in the campaign, now is your chance.

Below is your guide to what should go into your box of Christmas cheer...

What you should include: 

Team Hope always encourages people to consider the four Ws when choosing what to include in their shoebox. These are:

Write: something a child can write with or write on. This includes pens, pencils, copybooks, colouring books, felt tip pens, erasers, and sharpeners.

Wash: items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, combs, and bars of soap (wrapped).

Wear: hats, gloves, socks, underwear, sunglasses and T-shirts are all welcome as part of the campaign.

Wow: something the child will enjoy like a toy car, a doll, a skipping rope, games, jigsaws, sweets (in date until April 2020), a small musical instrument, or an Irish-themed gift.

The gift should be aimed at either a boy or girl, and one of the following age categories: 2-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-14 years.

What you shouldn't include: 

There are a selection of items that shouldn't be included in a Team Hope Shoebox, including food with a use by date before April 2020, any liquids, and any toy that could be war-related.

Bubbles also should not packed in the shoeboxes because they can either burst or freeze in transit.

Boxes should never include anything that could be considered scary. This includes Halloween toys or costumes, toy guns, and toy snakes. "A lot of the children we work with have experience of conflict, so while that may seem very far away to us, it’s real for them," says Team Hope's Peter Heaney.

"We wouldn't include any war related items or toys that have a military feel. There can be negative associations for the children and even for the parents."

You can find out more about Team Hope's Shoebox Appeal here.