Operation Christmas Child building up in Stettler region

With generous caring hearts from the heart of Alberta, local residents are again extending their love by packing shoeboxes for needy children in the annual Operation Christmas Child campaign over the next month.

Individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses, and community groups are encouraged to fill shoeboxes with a variety of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items, plus personal notes and photos for children in developing countries.

“The Christmas shoe boxes are an excellent way for all people to bring the same hope, joy, love, and peace that we talk about at Christmas to children across the world who otherwise have no reason to experience hope, joy, love, and peace,” said Scott Whitford, pastor of Stettler Alliance Church which has become the depot to collect the boxes.

“It is the true spirit of Christmas expressed in a very tangible way and our church and our community are proud to help make a difference in the lives of children in developing countries.”

All filled boxes must be delivered to the church during National Shoe Box Collection Week from Nov. 16 to 21.

Empty shoeboxes are available at local churches and schools, the items may also be packed in reusable containers the same or similar size.

Last year, Canadians filled nearly 714,000 shoeboxes, and sent over 68 million since the program was established in Canada in 1993 under Samaritan’s Purse, based in Calgary.

Each gift-filled shoebox collected in western Canada this year will make a long journey to the outstretched hands of a needy child in Central America in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes are also opening doors and creating opportunities for Samaritan’s Purse to provide children, families, and communities with access to safe water, food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance, and/or educational resources.

For more information, phone Whitford at 403-742-1135.

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