Categorized | News

Operation Christmas Child under way in Fort Macleod

Children in foreign countries are delighted to receive shoeboxes filled with simple gifts.

Children in foreign countries are delighted to receive shoeboxes filled with simple gifts.

Shoeboxes are collected andpackaged for shipment in Calgary.

Shoeboxes are collected andpackaged for shipment in Calgary.

A package of pencils is not a gift that would overwhelm most North American children on Christmas morning.
But to a child in a country where students in a classroom share a single pencil, receiving an entire package is a gift for the ages.
“The one little girl, she was so excited to get a whole pack of pencils in her shoebox,” said Jacky Ketel, Lethbridge and area co-ordinator for Operation Christmas Child. “Up until that time, 52 children in her classroom had to share one pencil.”
“A lot of kids in these countries can’t got to school, unless they have school supplies. So by us putting in school supplies kids are able to go to school because their parents can’t afford them.”
That’s the impact that a shoebox filled with toys, school supplies, personal hygiene items and other small gifts can make through Operation Christmas Child.
Fort Macleod residents are urged to pack shoeboxes Nov. 16-22 for the program co-ordinated by Samaritan’s Purse.
People can pick up shoeboxes between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday at Fort Macleod Alliance Church.
Shoeboxes are also available at Urban Core from Monday to Saturday during business hours.
Once filled, shoeboxes can be dropped off at both locations prior to the Nov. 22 deadline.
People who would like to support the program but don’t want to fill a shoebox can donate cash and the Alliance Church will shop and fill the box.
People can also visit www.packabox.ca to fill and pay for a shoebox.
Many people in Fort Macleod prefer to do the shopping and packing themselves.
“You just feel connected to the child on the other end,” said Michelle Hedley, who is helping co-ordinate the program in Fort Macleod. “It’s just more personal.”
Some people make packing shoeboxes a family event.
Hedley takes her daughters to the store and lets them do the gift shopping.
Ketel each year takes her granddaughter to shop and fill two shoeboxes.
“We try and think of what it would be like for someone who has never received a present before, to fill a box for them and make it special,” Ketel said.
People who pack shoeboxes themselves are encouraged to enclose a personal note to the child who will receive the gifts.
Last year, Fort Macleod residents packed close to 200 shoeboxes as part of a national effort that saw Canadians fill 700,474 shoeboxes.
Canada was one of 100 countries on six continents to contribute to a project that saw 10-million shoeboxes filled with gifts collected.
Ketel and Hedley have both volunteered at the distribution centre in Calgary, where shoeboxes are checked and sorted.
“It’s emotional,” Hedley said. “It’s really emotional, in a good way.”

Tags |

Comments are closed.