Samaritan’s Purse has launched Operation Christmas Child.
The charity drive is in its 23rd year, and sees people fill shoe boxes with gifts for children in third world nations.
Lloydminster Coordinator Ken Hastings says that the biggest gift from the shoe boxes isn’t an object.
“The one gift that is in a shoebox is the gift that somebody cares for that child,” Hastings said. “That knowledge, that ‘there’s somebody that cares for me,’ doesn’t change that child’s situation… but for that moment that child feels that somebody cares enough about them, and that produces joy and hope that I can’t fully describe. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard young people that are now in their 20s share how receiving a shoe box 15 years ago changed their life.”
Hastings also says that Samaritan’s Purse is hoping to make this year’s drive bigger than ever.
“We’ve received just over 3,600 last year, and we realized economic conditions have changed, but we’re still setting our goal at getting as close to that 4,000 as possible. So, we’re asking people if they’ve filled a few boxes last year to fill them again, and maybe consider filling one more. There are still children out there in the world that have never received a box, and are on the waiting list to receive shoe boxes, so, if we can get close to 4,000, that would be a lot of children impacted.”
Hastings also says a toy, school supplies, hygiene products, and a picture or Christmas card are good gifts to put in the shoe boxes, but hard candy and liquids are no longer allowed.
Samaritan’s Purse is also bringing back the Ukraine initiative, where boxes marked with a blue label will be set aside for children in the war-torn nation. Hastings recommends that anyone packing a box for Ukraine include warmer clothing.
Empty shoe boxes can be picked up at Your Dollar Store with More, Verses, Dollar Tree, Safeway, and Southridge Community Church.
Collection week for the shoe boxes is November 16-21, and they can be dropped off at Verses, Safeway, and Southridge Community Church.