Operation Christmas Child is back for its 25th year delivering gifts to children around the world. Each year the Lloydminster area participates in the giving and this year it’s expected 3500 shoe boxes will be filled by people in the area.
Samaritan’s Purse is the organization that puts on the event each year and their target date to collect gifts is between November 12 to 18. In Lloydminster, shoe boxes can be picked up and dropped off at Southridge Community Church, Your Dollar Store With More, Verses, Spiro’s, Silverwood Toyota and Safeway.
Lloydminster volunteer Ken Hastings says from there, the boxes will travel to Calgary before they are dropped off to the kids.
“The boxes from this area will go to Calgary that’s our Western Canada processing centre and from there, your box will probably head for Central or South America. There are about six countries down in that area. Other boxes from Canada might head slightly east into about four countries in Africa.”
Hastings says to fill a box people start by picking an age group then a gender and finally the things that go in the box, which are in five categories.
“The first is a toy. These are kids they live in countries where they may never have had an opportunity to hold a real toy. This will probably be the first gift they’ve ever received so a toy is important.”
The other categories include school supplies, health and hygiene, a card or note and an age-specific item.
“Looking back over the last 25 years the numbers are staggering. We’re talking a hundred and some million children would have received shoe boxes up to this point,” says Hastings.