Operation Christmas Child campaign now under way

By Rob Vogt
Operation Christmas Child’s annual shoebox campaign is under way, providing a chance to help children in less fortunate parts of the world.
Annette Bordeleau, the organizer this year, said the shoeboxes help children.
People can pick up regular-sized shoeboxes at local pharmacies, Red Apple, Your Dollar Store With More, Willow Creek Quilts, Janet’s Fashions, Flowers on 49th, Antrée, and the Claresholm Local Press, and pack them with items to be sent to children in Central America and the west coast of Africa.
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.
By far, boys 10 to 14 receive the least shoe box gifts.
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 suppliess.
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.
Enclosing a personal note and picture is also encouraged to be included.
Bordeleau said she received a call from Kenya. Initially, she wasn’t going to answer it, but decided to after all.
“My nephew received a box from you,” the man said to Bordeleau.
“He thanked me,” she added. “They are so thankful.
“It’s pretty incredible.”
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.
People can also build a box online by visiting packabox.ca.
Packed shoeboxes can be dropped off at Faith Community Baptist Church, during business hours, from Nov. 13 to 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday.
People can also provide their own shoeboxes or use small, shoebox-sized plastic tubs as well.
Last year a total of 3,163 shoeboxes were sent from Claresholm, including those that were packed and sent online.
“There’s a lot of community involvement,” Bordeleau said.
A total of 10.6 million were collected worldwide, and 415,072 in Canada, with 88,717 of those packed by Alberta residents.
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 188 million children in over 170 countries and territories have received a shoebox.