THIS year has seen another terrific response to the annual Rotary Shoebox Appeal.

Schools and organisations have received 2,650 shoeboxes from the Rotary Club of Chepstow which are now in the process of being gathered, ready for transportation to very poor communities in eastern Europe.

Despite the improving economies of some eastern European countries, poverty can be extreme. This is especially true in children's homes, which are under-resourced and where children have little in the way of personal possessions.

A shoebox full of toys or other personal items, sent with love from a child in the UK, may be the only Christmas present these children have.

The boxes from Chepstow will go first to a collection centre in Preston and will then be loaded onto big container lorries, each containing 12,000 boxes. The first truck is going to Ukraine with later ones to Moldova and eastern Romania.

Through the generosity of children and families in the Chepstow area, many children in very poor circumstances will have a happy Christmas, and possibly the first Christmas present they have ever received. The Rotary Club of Chepstow sends thanks to everyone who took part in this national appeal.