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open Christmas parcel with contents; © (Photo) 2010 Christian Bangert
Giving the Joy of Christmas

“I'm so happy! Miss Monica, I didn't know there are people in Germany that love me! Can you tell them 'thank you' for me?” Albert, 9 years old, doesn't know if it's too good to be true. In his arms he's holding a Christmas parcel; it's so heavy that he can barely hold it. “He was heavily traumatized when we met him,” Monica Boseff, representative of Helping Hands' local partner in Bucharest, explains. “His parents are divorced; when his mother remarried, she didn't want him anymore. Now he lives with his father, stepmother and grandmother in a small house. His father's salary is barely enough for basic necessities.”

For many years now Helping Hands has been sending annual Christmas shipments to Eastern Europe, with hundreds of "Christmas parcels" that are packed by individuals and churches all over Germany. In early December dozens of voluntary helpers load the parcels and hundreds of boxes of aid supplies onto a big truck which then travels east, usually to Romania and/or Bulgaria. In these countries there are still many people who live in abject poverty; for most of them, the Christmas parcel is the only Christmas gift they receive. Even after these countries joined the European Union little has changed for the poor who are also suffering from the effects of the economic crisis. Many people are unemployed; elderly citizens often survive on a tiny pension. They cannot afford good things like coffee, chocolate and vitamins. Again and again the recipients of Christmas parcels emphasize: These are such a blessing, the parcels contain exactly what we need!

The Christmas parcels are currently distributed to needy families with children and elderly people in Bucharest, Sighişoara, Ţigmandru, Viscri and Buneşti in Romania and Etropole, Vidrare and surrounding villages in Bulgaria. You can view a picture gallery with photos from the past several years which show the loading, unloading and distribution of the parcels.

Would you like to get involved and send a box full of Christmas surprises to a needy family or individual in Romania or Bulgaria?

Helping Hands sends a shipment with Christmas parcels, other aid goods and school supplies to Romania and Bulgaria each December. The deadline to drop off Christmas parcels is in early or mid-November. Please bring the items in a plastic bag or use one of the boxes provided at the Helping Hands office. Many thanks for your help and enjoy packing!

Packing list for one parcel:
1 kg rice (no pudding rice)
1 kg pasta
500 g coffee, ground and vacuum-packed
1 bag of Gummibärchen (gummibears/jelly babies)
3 bars of chocolate
2 packages of herbal tea or fruit infusions
4 tubes of vitamin tablets
1 bottle of shampoo
2 tubes of toothpaste
2 toothbrushes
2 bars of soap (please wrap in small plastic bag)
1 stick deodorant
1 bottle of hand lotion
10 small packages of tissues

Please do not pack any items that aren't included in the list above. Boxes with different items cannot be included in the shipment. All boxes have to be checked, so if you are using one of the boxes provided please do not seal it. It is easiest if you bring the items in a plastic bag.

Please donate towards the cost of transport: 3 Euro/GBP per box

Please drop off your Christmas parcel(s) here: Helping Hands & Church of the Nazarene, Frankfurter Straße 16, 63571 Gelnhausen, Germany

Drop-off deadline: By 15th November of every year

We cannot issue donation receipts for a donation in kind. However, you can support the local purchase of additional items by sending a donation with the memo "Christmas Joy" to the account of Helping Hands e.V. (IBAN: DE56 5075 0094 0000 022394; BIC: HELADEF1GEL). Please include your full address details, and we will send you a contribution receipt.