A group of boys in Uganda eagerly look through their shoeboxes packed by generous donors. Operation Christmas Child is underway for another year and Campbell Riverites are encouraged to fill a shoebox for a child in need.

Shoeboxes deliver joy around the world

Christmas is still eight weeks away but for those wanting to spread a little joy where there is little, it’s already time to start shopping

Christmas is still eight weeks away but for those wanting to spread a little joy where there is little, it’s already time to start shopping.

Operation Christmas Child, a charitable Samaritan’s Purse initiative, is underway for another season.

Those who would like to lend a hand are invited to fill a shoebox full of small gifts for children in impoverished countries.

Deana Longland, Campbell River’s Operation Christmas Child co-ordinator since 2008, says for many of those children it will be the only gift they ever receive.

Longland first got involved through her church and thought it was a worthy project that she and her husband could do together as a family with their daughter.

“It’s such a great way to teach kids about giving and that’s how it all started with us,” Longland says.

She’s been packing a shoebox every year since.

What goes in the shoebox is up to the giver. Samaritan’s Purse encourages each donor to send a variety of school supplies, toys and hygiene products that will not break, leak or harm a child.

Last year, Canadians packed 730,577 shoeboxes and locally, Campbell Riverites filled 1,480 shoeboxes.

This year, shoeboxes packed in Campbell River will go to a child in one of several countries including El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala, Venezuela, Guinea, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau or Sierra Leone.

Those interested in packing a shoebox can pick up a box from several local churches, the Mirror office or by calling Discovery Community Church (250-287-8786).

The deadline to fill a shoebox is the week of November 14-20.

For more information, visit samaritanspurse.ca/OCC

Samaritan’s Purse

A child is all smiles after receiving a shoebox in Libera.