Until December 14, the New York Irish Center– located in Long Island City – will collect donated shoeboxes, filled with Christmas gifts for boys and girls, in the hopes of improving the holiday season for children in The Rockaways.

The center, one of many collection points throughout the area, emulates an Irish program that has delivered previously 2.6 million shoeboxes to children in 21 countries.

“One of the best aspects of our Shoe Box Appeal is it gives children the opportunity help children,” says Jane McCarter, the arts and cultural director at the New York Irish Center. “Another lovely aspect is putting together the shoeboxes is a very family-orientated experience, and also filling the shoebox contents is not a huge a financial burden on parents and guardians.”

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The New York Irish Center requests that an individual wrap separately a shoebox and its lid with Christmas paper. The individual must determine whether the gift befits a boy or a girl, and its corresponding age group: 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-14 years. Then, one must label the shoebox and seal it with an elastic band.

Appropriate gifts include school supplies, such as calculators, coloring books, erasers, notebooks, paper, pencils, pens and sharpeners, and small items of clothing – such as gloves, hats, scarves, sunglasses and socks.  Hygienic products, musical instruments and toys are also suitable. Out of respect for the children, the center requests that each object is new, or as good as new.

The center discourages several items, including: breakable or sharp objects, chocolate, food, large articles of clothing, liquids, medicine, and scary or war-related objects. A collection point reserves the right to remove any item not suitable for a child.

The deadline to donate a shoebox is Friday, December 14 at 4 p.m. One can visit several collection points, namely: the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers; the Emerald Isle Immigration Centers in the Bronx and Queens; and the Irish Arts Center, the Irish Repertory Theatre, the Mad Hatter Saloon and Off the Rails Bar in Manhattan.

On December 13, organized events will be held at the Mad Hatter Saloon and Off the Rails Bar. Individuals who donate a shoebox will receive a discounted check.

To print the labels, or to receive more information, visit www.newyorkirishcenter.org or www.facebook.com/IrishDayofActionRockaway. The phone number for the New York Irish Center is 718.482.0909.