Operation Christmas Child time again

What better way to prepare for the Christmas season than helping less fortunate kids and families around the world?

What better way to prepare for the Christmas season than helping less fortunate kids and families around the world? It’s Operation Christmas Child time again.

Operation Christmas Child is a program of international Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse. It encourages local residents to fill shoeboxes with all sorts of different gifts and mail them off to kids and families in foreign countries who need a helping hand.

Wetaskiwin-area coordinator Gail Maughan dropped an information package off at The Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer a little while ago to let readers know the project is up and running again this year with much the same guidelines.

First, find an average shoebox or similarly sized plastic container with a lid. Place a “boy” or “girl” label on the box.

Next, fill the box with gifts such as dolls, deflated soccer ball (with needle and pump), stuffed animals, puzzles, jump ropes, pencils, pens, crayons, note paper, colouring books, toothbrushes, bar soap, wash cloths, combs and more.

Maughan noted there are some items that are not allowed, including anything edible, soft or liquid items such as toothpaste, used stuff, anything breakable like glass, gambling items like playing cards, or anything that could be interpreted as violent (toy soldiers, guns etc.).

Also, Samaritans Purse requires a donation of $7 per shoebox to cover shipping around the world. You can donate online at samaritanspurse.ca or place a cheque or cash in an envelope inside the shoebox on the very top.

You can use your own shoeboxes or get free boxes at the Wetaskiwin mall Farmers Market October 7 to November 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many local business may also be offering shoeboxes. Maughan noted the shoeboxes are collected at the Wetaskiwin Mall on November 16, 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and November 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year, shoeboxes collected in Canada may be sent to Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Cost Rica, Guinea, Haiti, Nicaragua, Chile (including Easter Island), Senegal, Ukraine and Nepal. Last year the Wetaskiwin area sent 2,873 boxes overseas.

If you have questions about Operation Christmas Child, you can contact Maughan at 780-352-2038 or gmaughan@telusplanet.ca.