Campbell Riverites have been participating in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child initiative since 2008, filling thousands of shoe boxes over the years to be sent to children in developing nations all over the world.
And despite the pandemic, local organizers have once again distributed the boxes around town again this year and are encouraging people to pick them up and fill them for children in need.
Deana Longland, collection centre coordinator for Campbell River’s Operation Christmas Child initiative, says while it’s challenging times to do the work that needs to be done, it was still important for them to do what they could.
“People are living in dire poverty often in war torn countries where there is no opportunity for education or clean drinking water,” Longland says. “A simple shoe box gift will be a treasure to these children that we cannot comprehend.”
But Longland is a bit concerned that people will assume the initiative is paused for the year, what with everything else that’s going on in the world these days.
“Samaritan’s Purse has contacts in all of these countries, and they’re all working so hard to keep the organization going,” Longland says. “When the shoeboxes arrive in the country, they’ll go through inspection and everything, as always, and it might take a little longer this year for them to go through that process, but it’s safe to say that the organizations receiving the packages will be following all the protocols they need to in order for everyone to be safe.”
This will look a little different at the local collections centre, as well, Longland says.
“We’ll be setting up the centre in a different way than it has been in the past,” she says. “I’m not certain yet what exactly it will look like. We may have people drop them in a box outside and then our volunteers will go out and pick them up. We’re not exactly sure how it’ll go, but we’ll be taking all the neccessary precautions.”
Boxes are available for pickup at the churches within the community, as well as the Willow Point Dollar Store and at Dollar Tree in the Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre. They will then need to be returned to the Discovery Community Church the week of Nov. 16-22.
More information on the initiative, as well as instructions on how to pack a shoebox, can be found at www.samaritanspurse.ca