Kristen Douglas

Support and generosity overwhelming

Community has come through in a big way to support Operation Christmas Child

It all started innocently enough.

An interview that I was really looking forward to.

After all, it centred on my favourite topic – Christmas – and a project that I have always had a soft spot for.

It was an interview that I’ve done nearly every year for the past four years to raise awareness of Operation Christmas Child.

But this time things would be different.

Deana Longland, our local coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, would be telling me all about her trip to Costa Rica to personally hand deliver shoeboxes to children living in poverty.

If you’re not familiar with Operation Christmas Child, the basic premise is that you fill a shoebox with small toys and some necessities for children living in impoverished countries who would not normally receive a gift at Christmastime.

Our community has been incredibly generous over the years when it comes to this project and last year, more than 1,400 Campbell Riverites filled a shoebox.

The shoeboxes are available here at the Mirror office – where they’ve been in high demand – and at several local churches but I had never seen any at my own church.

So, during that interview with Deana I asked, “does the Catholic church do Operation Christmas Child?”

Her response?

“No, but you could start it there.”

Challenge accepted.

After getting the parish priest on board, we were off and running.

I’ll admit, I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what the response would be.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

The demand for shoeboxes has been overwhelming.

So much so that there were not enough boxes for everyone who wanted one after the first weekend that I put them out.

To date, I’ve gone through four cases of 25 shoeboxes.

I am beyond excited by the response and so proud that so many of my fellow parishioners are so giving and big-hearted.

I know every single shoebox packed will make a child’s day.

Deana relayed a story to me recently about someone who came to speak to her church about his experience handing out shoeboxes in Africa.

The children were lined up along a fence, waiting patiently for their gift.

Sadly, there weren’t enough shoeboxes to go around and some of the children went home empty-handed.

I’m thrilled to see our community doing its part to try and make sure that doesn’t happen again.

I know it’s unrealistic to think that we can help every single child out there in the world but it’s better than turning a blind eye.

Just think, if Campbell Riverites had decided not to take part in Operation Christmas Child last year, 1,480 children would not have received a shoebox.

So keep up the good work, Campbell River, and St. Patrick’s – you’re doing a good thing and making a change somewhere in the world, one child at a time.

For more on Operation Christmas Child visit,