With a record 1,250 shoeboxes collected for Operation Christmas Child in the Stettler region last year, organizers will strive to reach that number again during a three-week charity collection campaign.
Boxes are available at Stettler Alliance Church, the local collection depot for the project, to support children in third-world countries.
“It is a great opportunity to teach our own children about the spirit of giving in such a take world,” said Christy Brennan, local campaign co-ordinator with Julie Weekes.
“Our children are growing up with a sense of entitlement, while so many children in the world have nothing and are thrilled to receive this one simple gift.”
Brennan kicked off the campaign with a presentation to the Stettler Elementary School and Stettler Middle School students who are getting involved with the project, working together to pack shoeboxes.
“It’s not just about shoeboxes,” Brennan said to the students. “It’s also about opening doors for Samaritan’s Purse to provide other resources to these communities; safe drinking water, medical care, and food education, to name a few.”
Boxes will be collected at the Alliance church during Collection Week from Nov. 18 to 23, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., followed by Celebration Sunday.
Last year, 1,250 shoeboxes were collected from Stettler region, and communities beyond that, including Castor, Forestburg and Bashaw.
Boxes can be designated for a girl or a boy, ages two to four years old, five to nine or 10 to 14.
A box can be filled with a well-balanced variety of items of school supplies, toys and other gifts, such as stuffed animals, small musical instruments, hair clips, toy jewelry, T-shirts, socks, candy (loose, individually wrapped hard candy in a sealable bag), hygiene products and personal items.
Contributors are requested to not pack toothpaste, or any chewy, crumbly, or soft candy, used items, playing cards, liquids that could leak, melt, freeze, or break and items that could scare or harm a child.
Those packing a shoebox are also urged to donate a minimum $7 for each shoebox to help cover project costs, including shipping.
This year, local shoeboxes are scheduled to be distributed by Samaritan’s Purse to children in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child, phone Stettler Alliance Church at 403-742-1135 or visit the project website at www.samaritanspurse.ca.