“For many of the children, these boxes represent the very first gift they have ever received.”
This is according to Frank King, the News Media Relations Manager with Samaritan’s Purse Canada, the ministry behind the Operation Christmas Child campaign.
The annual shoebox drive, which brings gifts to kids in struggling countries across the world, is ramping up again across Canada, and the deadline for donations is just over two weeks away.
Many are familiar with the shoebox packing and donating process, but where do they go after, and how do they get to children across the planet?
“All those shoeboxes are shipped to our warehouse in Calgary, where thousands of volunteers will go through and inspect every shoebox to make sure there is nothing inside that could scare or harm a child, or stop the boxes from getting through customs,” said King.
From there, the boxes are bundled and shipped to countries in Africa and Central America. This year, Ukraine will also be receiving Canadian-packed boxes.
This year’s shoebox donation week is November 14th – 20th.
In Smithers, you can drop yours off at Mountain View Assembly on the following days:
- Monday, November 14th, 9:00am – 1:00pm
- Tuesday, November 15th, 9:00am – 1:00 pm
- Wednesday, November 16th, 9:00am – 1:00 pm
- Thursday, November 17th, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
In last year’s campaign, Canadians filled over 413,000 shoeboxes with gifts for children in struggling nations.
King said this year’s goal is to match or exceed that mark.
If you are interested in packing a box, King suggested putting “school supplies, hygiene items, and toys.”
He stressed that school supplies in these boxes can be the difference between some kids going to school and not because their families can not afford them on their own.
Boxes are generally designed and labeled for boys and girls of three age ranges: 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14.
King asks people to avoid “food items of any kind, liquids and paste, and nothing that could scare or harm a child, meaning toy guns and stuff like that.”
Many of these boxes are going to war-torn countries, King said army toys and plastic guns would not be appropriate and should be avoided.
Playing cards are being asked to also be left out, as gambling in some regions and families is a serious issue.
They also offer an online box packing service if you want to help but are unable to go out, or if filling one yourself seems like too daunting of a task.
You can find that link here.