For over 13 years, Alison has volunteered to coordinate the Christmas Shoebox Collection for Team Hope in Westmeath and Longford. The Team Home shoebox appeal sends shoeboxes filled with gifts to children who have been victims of war, disease or poverty. Children living on the edge, in some of the poorest countries in the world. Starting in October of each year Alison starts to promote the Shoebox appeal in schools in the area. In 2006 Alison took the trip with the shoeboxes to Armenia to deliver them first hand. She saw first hand how little these children have and how much joy this gift provides them.
Once the boxes are collected in their thousands, they need to be hand checked (they cannot contain any liquids, any religious material, anything hazardous). Every year, some of the boxes are very sadly lacking. To ensure that all boxes are of a high standard each year, Alison, purchases items out of her own pocket to fill the boxes. Each year you will find her in Penneys buying hundreds of hats and gloves and she makes trips to ASDA in northern Ireland to purchase as many toothbrushes and toothpastes, pens, pencils and toys as she can afford. Victoria Murphy, Alison’s daughter, nominated her for a Volunteer Ireland Award, she said “each year I am left speechless by the amount of time, energy and resources that she puts into this amazing cause. She is the most generous and caring person I have ever met and I would love the opportunity for her to receive recognition for her hard work and dedication.”
Photo courtesy of Damian Darcy Photography