Two thousand children in poorer countries across the globe will be opening gifts packed in Northern BC next month.
“The city of Prince George collected 1000 shoeboxes,” said George Krahn, Prince George’s Central Drop-off Location Team Leader.
“The communities of Prince Rupert, Smithers, Burns Lake, and Vanderhoof sent their boxes to us as the major collection center, that added up to 2,196 boxes.”
Burns Lake donated 454 shoeboxes, and Smithers contributed 94.
Krahn said the total is lower than they have seen in previous years and believes there are a couple of reasons why.
Operation Christmas Child launched a new box packing service this year, where people can quickly and easily pack and donate a box online.
Krahn said he thinks many people opted to use this service instead of bringing in a physical box in person.
He also mentioned inflation and the high cost of living, saying many people who might normally donate are finding themselves in positions where they can’t this season.
“Five, ten years ago, pre-COVID, I’m sure we had double or even triple that amount,” Krahn said. “1,000 is good, and I am not going to sneeze at anything. It is all good.”
A significant number of donors who came to the drop-off center also told Krahn it was their first time packing and donating a shoebox.
“It is still touching people’s hearts to be able to give and bless children around the world with these gifts… this has been going on since the early 90s, that tells me people are still connecting with the idea of doing this.”
One Prince George woman and her group of friends donated over 300 shoeboxes to the campaign – down from 800 in years prior.
From Prince George, the region’s boxes will go to the processing warehouse in Calgary, where every gift will be inspected and sorted into their gender and age brackets.
From there, they will be shipped out to countries in Central America, Western Africa, Ukraine, and the Philippines.
Donations are still being collected online here.