Three young girls are thrilled to receive their gift-filled shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child which is now underway.

‘Tis the season to pack a shoebox

Christmas may still be nine weeks away but for some it’s already time to start shopping

Christmas may still be nine weeks away but for some it’s already time to start shopping.

Operation Christmas Child – an annual initiative of the charitable organization, Samaritan’s Purse – is underway for another season.

Campbell Riverites are invited once again to fill a shoebox with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, plus personal notes and photos, for a child who otherwise will likely not receive any gifts this year.

Samaritan’s Purse will deliver the gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world living in the midst of poverty, disease, war, and natural disaster.

Last year, Campbell Riverites filled 1,424 shoe boxes with gifts that shared their love and hope with children in the developing world.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed more than 124 million shoebox gifts around the globe.

Deana Longland, who has coordinated Campbell River’s main Operation Christmas Child collection centre for several years, said her wish is to see Canadians continue that generosity.

“It’s my hope and prayer that Canadians from coast to coast will join us again this year in packing and donating gift-filled shoeboxes,” she said. “Every shoebox is a powerful reminder to children living in some of our world’s most desperate situations that they haven’t been forgotten by Canadians or by God.”

For many children, the shoebox may be the first gift they have ever received.

Every child receives a gift-filled shoebox as an unconditional gift regardless of the child’s race, religion or gender. When given, they often open doors for Samaritan’s Purse to work with local community leaders in identifying and addressing other needs, such as clean water, literacy and vocational training for women, and school meals for children.

For those who would like to fill a shoebox, the first thing to do is decide whether your shoebox will be for a boy or girl and then choose an age group between 2-4 years, 5-9 years or 10-14 years. Then fill your empty shoebox with small gifts such as school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and a $7 donation to cover shipping costs. Although every shoebox contains the basics, they are all unique because in your heart you have a child in mind. This is what makes it special and by adding a personalized note and photo you are helping this child relate to you.

Due to Customs regulations in receiving countries, shoeboxes are no longer allowed to contain any candies or food items in the shoeboxes.

For a complete list of Yes and No items allowed in shoeboxes, visit the website listed below.

Shoeboxes from across the country, including Campbell River, will be collected the week of Nov. 16-22.

Each gift-filled shoebox packed, donated, and delivered to one of hundreds of collection centres throughout Canada by Nov. 22, will make a long journey into the arms of a needy child in Haiti, South or Central America, Ukraine, or West Africa.

Campbell River’s local Collection Centre is at the Discovery Community Church located at 250 10th Avenue (the former Galaxy Theatre).

Shoeboxes can be picked up at various churches, the Willow Point Dollar Store, Tap Book Keeping, the Travel Place, the Mirror, as well as at Phoenix, Carihi and Timberline schools.  For more information call Discovery Community Church at 250-287-8786 or to learn more, visit www.SamaritansPurse.ca/OCC