Give the gift of hope with Operation Christmas Child

By Tanya Cronin
November 14, 2016 - 4:52pm Updated: November 14, 2016 - 5:41pm

KAMLOOPS — Residents can give the gift of hope to kids in need this holiday season. 

This week, volunteers are collecting shoeboxes for the annual Operation Christmas Child project, care packages that will be delivered to underprivileged children in over 150 countries.

People of all ages are being encouraged to participate in the hands-on project and fill a shoebox with a variety of gifts, providing boys and girls around the world, with some joy this Christmas.

They are little boxes of hope, boxes wrapped in love for children in need around the world this holiday season.  

Operation Christmas Child is in full swing, and this week at Sahali Mall volunteers with Samaritan's Purse are collecting shoe boxes containing a variety of items, to be delivered to children living in war, poverty and disaster.

"We picked up about 80 some odd boxes today, we're looking forward to more people coming in today and bringing their boxes back so we can ship them off," says Bryan Pederson, Operation Christmas Child Volunteer.

With the deadline of November 20th fast approaching, Kamloops residents can assemble boxes filled with toys such as dolls, stuffed animals, and puzzles. School supplies is also needed, along with hygiene items like toothbrushes, washcloths and hair combs. And if you wish, include a personal note which can be a powerful gesture that can bring so much joy. 

"Inside here there's a toothbrush, there's some cards, a brush, a toy, of course a little doll, there's some clothing items, crayons, it looks like a great little box."

Launched in 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls ages 2 to 14, in 150 countries have received these special shoeboxes. Last year in Kamloops, the campaign collected over 2500 boxes, the goal this year is to exceed that number. For some kids, this might be the first gift they've ever been given.

"Canada's noted for its generosity and this is a way we can teach younger children how to contribute in generosity, I know my daughter and son-in-law took their 4 children out and packed the boxes up and they were all excited about that," says Pederson.

From Kamloops, the boxes will go to Calgary to be processed and inspected for any prohibited items, like food and candy. They will then be loaded onto cargo planes and container ships and eventually arrive in small towns and villages. Lifting the spirits of children who may have nothing, and sharing with them the gift of unconditional love.

Filled shoeboxes can be dropped off at Sahali Centre Mall or St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, until Saturday, November 20th. Boxes can also be picked up and dropped off at several other Kamloops businesses, but only until November 18th. 

For a list of locations and more information - visit www.samaritanspurse.ca 

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