By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
Operation Christmas Child’s annual shoebox campaign has started, offering an opportunity to help children in less fortunate parts of the world.
Annette Bordeleau, the organizer this year, said the shoeboxes help children.
“It’s extending God’s love to the children of the world,” she said. “I’m just part of a small (piece) of that.”
People can pick up regular-sized shoeboxes at local pharmacies, Your Dollar Store With More, Willow Creek Quilts, the Bargain Shop, and the Claresholm Local Press, and pack them with items to be sent to children in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and five countries in Africa – Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone.
The first step is to determine whether the shoebox will be for a boy or girl, aged two to four, five to nine, or 10 to 14.
Then it’s time to start packing.
Select a quality “wow” item such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, or stuffed animal.
The shoebox then can be filled with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies.
Please do not include candy; toothpaste; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes, powdered or liquid; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans and liquid antibiotic ointment.
A minimum $10 donation for each shoebox is also requested to help cover project costs from collection and shipping to training and distribution.
Please make one combined donation for multiple shoeboxes. Tax-deductible receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more.
Packed shoeboxes can be dropped off at Faith Community Baptist Church, during business hours, from Nov. 16 to 22, from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday to Friday and Sunday, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday to Friday.
Bordeleau has given out shoeboxes at various locations around town.
People can also provide their own shoeboxes or use small, shoebox-sized plastic tubs as well.
Last year a total of 316 shoeboxes were collected in Claresholm.
This year, Bordelaeu’s goal is 500 shoeboxes.
A total of 10.5 million were collected worldwide and 490,471 in Canada.
The processing centre that prepares all shoeboxes for overseas shipment is in Calgary, and welcomes volunteers to help out.
Bordeleau encourages everyone to participate in the shoebox campaign.
“It’s for impoverished kids,”she said. “It’s something that’s my passion.”
Anyone interested in more information can phone 403-625-3349 or visit samaritanspurse.ca/occ.
Operation Christmas Child is a hands-on project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and development organization.
Samaritan’s Purse began collecting shoebox gifts in 1993 in response to a request to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia.
A total of 28,000 shoeboxes were sent to children in Bosnia that Christmas.
Since 1993, more than 178 million children in over 160 countries and territories have received a shoebox.
To learn more, visit https://www.samaritanspurse.ca/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/