Operation Christmas Child is officially underway again in Campbell River. The program collects donated gifts

The journey of a shoe box

Operation Christmas Child is officially underway in Campbell River and other communities around the world

With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s time to grab a shoe box and bring a smile to the face of a child who is less fortunate.

Operation Christmas Child, an initiative of the Christian humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, is officially underway in Campbell River and other communities around the world.

To take part, simply fill a shoe box with small gifts such as school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and a personal note and photo from the giver which will be delivered to a needy child.

The boxes are then dropped off at Campbell River’s collection centre, located in the Discovery Community Church (former Galaxy movie theatre).

From the collection centre, the shoe box is trucked to the Calgary processing centre, where it is inspected and prepared for shipping by trained volunteers.

The shoe box is loaded into a sea container, along with thousands of others, and shipped overseas where it is received in the destination country by a team of Operation Christmas Child volunteers called a National Leadership Team.  From the port of entry, many methods of transportation, such as airplane, canoe, helicopter, truck, donkey, camel, etc., may be used to get the shoe box to its final destination.

Shoe boxes are distributed in more than 100 countries. This year, Canadian shoe boxes from Calgary will go to children in Haiti, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and El Salvador.

Deana Longland, Campbell River’s longtime shoe box collection co-ordinator, will be hand delivering shoe boxes to children in Costa Rica this year with her daughter, Rhiaanah Villalobos and her friend Jake Johnson.

“We’ll be able to see first-hand the excitement the kids get and we get to deliver our own shoe boxes,” says Longland, who will be in Cost Rica between Christmas and New Year’s.

Every child receives a shoe box as an unconditional gift regardless of race, religion, or gender. A child is not required to accept anything or make a confession of faith to receive a shoe box. Many of the children who receive a shoe box are being given the first gift they have ever received.

Last year Campbell Riverites packed 1, 404 shoe boxes.

Longland is hoping the community will give generously again. Each shoe box given represents love, joy and hope to children living in desperate situations around the world.

For those not able to get out and pack a shoe box the traditional way, there is an online participation option at PackABox.ca. Choose shoe box gift items, write a personal note, add a photo and make a donation, all online.

All shoe boxes must come in to the Discovery Church Collection Centre between Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 24.

The church is open Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2p.m. and on Sunday 12 a.m.-1 p.m. Shoe boxes are available at the Discovery Church, the Willow Point dollar store, Thomas Cook the Travel Place on Shoppers Row, the Baptist Church, Christian Life Fellowship church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship church, Ocean Crest Salvation Army church and

Periscope Promotions in Willow Point.

For more information call Discovery Community Church at 250-287-8786 or visit www.SamaritansPurse.ca/OCC.