There is no end to Operation Christmas Child this year as the initiatives plans to bring gifts to less fortunate children in several parts of the world.
Local organizer and shoebox inspector Ruby Trudel says items like school supplies, toys, balls, hygiene items like toothbrushes could make a massive difference in a child’s life.
“It’s really quite beautiful to hear the stories of the adults who received boxes as children about the hope they felt when they opened a shoebox. They saw items in their that they never dreamt of owning and someone they would never meet from Canada packed that shoebox just for them.”
She says small items like a teddy bear can provide comfort to a child with very little.
“We’re grateful for every single box we receive. We want to remind people that while things may be different for us here and tougher for some of use, but the children in the places where these boxes are going to they are living in desperate poverty. They’ve experience war or a natural disaster, things we can’t even imagine, so we ask people to keep their hearts open.”
Trudel reminds people to remove any plastic packaging on any items they include in the boxes and do not put it in any liquids, candy, toothpaste, fragile items or toys depicting war.
Trudel and her husband often make the trip to the warehouse in Calgary to help inspect the shoeboxes before they are sent out. She still invites volunteers to come and says they will be following COVID-19 guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks as they examine the boxes.
Residents can drop off their shoeboxes at Spiro’s Restaurant, Silverwood Toyota, Safeway or Southridge Community Church. Collection week runs from November 16 to 21. Trudel says last year they packed 2,562 boxes from Lloydminster and the surrounding area.
People can also build a box online through the Samaritan’s Purse website or donate money directly to the organization to cover shipping and transportation costs.
UPDATE: Lloydminster contributed 2,174 shoeboxes filled with items in 2020.