Christmas Child Needs Your Help OPERATION Christmas Child needs your help with this year's appeal.
One of the country's leading children's charities, the organisation delivers shoeboxes filled with gifts to those living in very difficult conditions in several countries.
Last year, 42,100 shoeboxes full of presents were donated by individuals and groups from Wirral and across the region.
The parcels were sent to Belarus, Crimea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Swaziland and Ukraine.
This year's campaign will be launched on Monday. The charity's regional manager, Ian Taylor, wants as many people to donate, despite the tough economic times.
He said: "Our concern for this Christmas is that people, naturally, are worried by the recession and that they might be undecided about donating a shoebox in 2009.
"Circumstances are worrying for many people in this country at present, but it is an awful lot worse for the vulnerable children and orphans we seek to support.
"Many are abandoned by their parents or have been removed from abusive situations by the authorities, are ill, or are living in poverty or squalid conditions with their families, conditions that have worsened significantly during the global recession.
"Last year it was reported that the average spend in the UK on gifts at Christmas, per person, was £359.
"If everyone gave just a tiny portion of that sum to put together a gift-filled shoebox, we would have a fantastic gift for a child who may well receive nothing at all if we cannot get them a shoebox.
"It's amazing to see the power of giving, to see what simple things like a toy car, a doll, some crayons or even toothpaste and a toothbrush of their own means to these kids. It puts our expectations of Christmas into a fresh perspective.
"It's important to understand that we also help these children and their families – where they have them – year round.
"We work with communities who are challenged by having no ready access to clean drinking water, for example, or who are impacted by HIV and AIDS.
"We offer support throughout the year, although Christmas is a special time to help a child.
"I am optimistic that the communities in Merseyside will rise to the occasion this year, too."If you want to help this year, log on to www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk or contact the Helpline on 0870 011 2002.
They will receive a simple set of instructions explaining what to do.
The guidelines suggest what to put in a shoebox, how to pack it, and where to send it for collection and onward transportation.
A £2.50 contribution is requested towards promotion, transport, processing and distribution, and shoeboxes should be ready by November 18 at the latest.