The Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection season has begun again in the Comox Valley as families, churches, businesses and community groups begin packing shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items plus personal notes and photos.
Almost 1,500 boxes were collected and shipped from the Valley last year, according to Faye Schellenberg, team leader for the local drive. By Christmas they will be delivered into the hands of children from impoverished parts of Central America, West Africa, and the Ukraine.
Operation Christmas Child is an annual initiative of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and development organization.
The program is vigorously supported by many Comox Valley businesses, churches, and groups, Schellenberg said.
Last year Quality Foods alone gathered more than 200 shoeboxes at its Driftwood Mall store and two of the local dollar stores are also enthusiastic supporters.
Samaritan’s Purse requests that a donation of $10 accompany each box to cover shipping and program costs. People can obtain boxes and informationfrom local sponsoring churches and businesses, or they can also pack boxes online at PackABox.ca,
For local information Schellenberg can be reached at 250-334-9678. To learn more, including suggestions concerning what to put in the shoeboxes, visit www.SamaritansPurse.ca/OCC
The shoeboxes are given as unconditional gifts regardless of the child’s race, religion or gender.
Some 664,000 gift boxes were packed by Canadians last year for delivery to children living in circumstances of poverty, disease, war, and natural disaster. Comox Pentecostal Church is the local shoebox collection centre. Collection Dates are Nov. 16-18 at 1919 Guthrie Rd, Comox.