The Logistics of Christmas Charity

Emma Simpson, December 18, 2019

I’ve recently celebrated my 4th year working at Alchemy with my most recent role being that of a Recruitment Consultant. I specialise in the supply of talent to the Global Shipping and Logistics industries and as such for this festive month of December, I decided to put together a blog focused on ‘The Logistics of Christmas Charity’.

There are numerous charities internationally, that work hard to deliver donations all year round, however Christmas is a particularly important time of year, when universally, people tend to share a little more generously as part of the Yuletide tradition.

Operation Christmas Child

Over 500 million children are expecting a visit from Santa this Christmas – to ensure as many children as possible have this expectation fulfilled, an Evangelical Christian Organisation called the Samaritan’s Purse setup a program called ‘Operation Christmas Child’ back in 1990.

The Operation has since reached more than 168 million children in over 160 countries, providing simple shoebox gifts filled by volunteers. The shoeboxes are packed with toys, hygiene items and warm clothing items (like hats, scarves and gloves) in the hope that the gifts will provide both Christmas cheer and practical care to recipients.

The logistical process involved with getting a shoebox to a child is large and complex... Usually starting at the home of a volunteer filling the boxes.

The Logistics of Operation Christmas Child

Once the shoebox gifts have been created by volunteers, they are normally gathered together at a local drop-off location. The shoeboxes are then delivered to one of eight different processing centres around the world, where they are prepared for shipment.

Shoeboxes are shipped around the world in various ways being collected and then prepared for international shipping on a worldwide basis arriving in over 100 countries. Logistics Coordinators are responsible for loading the shoeboxes ready for delivery at the warehouse.

According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, Logistics Coordinators working on this enormous project have said the role involves “coordinating collections from local centres and churches.” “It’s very rewarding seeing the lorries loaded up with shoeboxes, on their way to children in need; and knowing that we played a part in that.”

CLIC Sargent

CLIC Sargent is a charity dedicated to assisting children on their journey to defeat cancer. CLIC Sargent provides day to day support for children and their families on both a practical and financial basis. The charity offers facilities where families can stay during treatment for free and strives to prevent cancer from effectively cancelling a child’s Christmas by ensuring the family can spend time together. 

Gerson Relocation have pledged their support to CLIC Sargent via the creation of a scheme where rucksacks are distributed to volunteers and other organisations that they work closely with. The rucksacks are to be filled with gifts to amuse children and bring Christmas joy during their time spent in hospital.

For the last couple of years, Alchemy has been delighted to support Gerson Relocation and CLIC Sargent at Christmas by participating in the rucksack scheme. It has been fun filling the bags with various toys, puzzles, books, gifts and games appropriate for age ranges from 4 – 18 years. Gerson Relocation will generously deliver the filled rucksacks directly to the charity in time for Christmas.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a well-known charity with a particularly high profile at Christmas time; with all the good work they carry out across the UK. Support is provided via night shelters for homeless individuals, Christmas lunches for those with nowhere to go and food and gift deliveries to families who are struggling this festive season.

The Salvation Army have previously been highly commended their work at the Logistics Awards as recognitions of the Clothing Collection divisions. On receiving the certificate, Roland Ralph, Head of Logistics said: “We are always trying to improve our sustainability measures, and through this process we have not only saved costs but reduced our environmental impact. Using larger trailers with more efficient loading, we will save 290 journeys per year, reducing our CO2 emissions by roughly 54.5 tonnes.”

Conclusion

I think we can all agree that these charities offer a fantastic and much needed service throughout the year and particularly at Christmas time. The impacts of the logistics involved are far reaching with positive impacts felt by recipients all around the globe. I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to the reader, and those individuals actively involved in charitable works at this festive time of year.

Written by Emma Simpson – Recruitment Consultant - Shipping, Logistics & Supply Chain at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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