A small toy, maybe some candies or even some cotton socks, that doesn’t sound too impressive as a gift for children living in North America but for kids living half way around the world, those items give hope.
That’s the simple premise behind Operation Christmas Child. Operated by samaritanspurse.org the program is administered locally by the Bethel Bible Church on Black Road.
“We reach out to the community, schools churches, groups and the malls, and what the purpose is, is making an impact on a child’s life” Joyce St. Pierre, Regional Logistics Coordinator, a role she shares with her husband, Edo.
Individuals can pick up a shoebox from the church and have between now and November 17 to fill it with gifts for a child that could include many items that we take from granted. Toothpaste, a tooth brush, socks, little car toys or tools like a hammer and of course what child can resist a sweet tweet?
In each shoebox participants will find an option for what age group of children they want to help two to four, five to 9 or 10 to 13. You can also select a girl or boy.
“You would pack your shoebox based on what you feel in your heart what you feel is best for that specific child”
St. Pierre also recommends a small note to the child to be included. About 6,000 shoeboxes will be collected locally joining thousands of others from 19 different locations across the country. Once the boxes are collected they are transported to Kitchener for processing them shipped to the countries that are part of the campaign.
The Operation Christmas Child program kicked off in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday. The annual campaign is in its 21st year nationally and has over 48,000 volunteers this is the 12th year in Sault Ste. Marie.
“To me if a child knows I love them, even though I have never met the child, has a big impact on them” St. Pierre told SaultOnline.com
“For some of these children, this is the only gift that they will ever receive, so knowing that they will feel the love when they open the box, it’s just an overwhelming feeling that you know you have brought change and hope to their lives”
For those interested in finding out more and how you can become part of this incredible out reach, call Joy at 705 -297-1806 or Edo at 705 541-8420 or follow this link samaritanspurse.org