Volunteers at Cariboo Bethel Church packed 482 donated shoeboxes into larger boxes to be shipped to the Samaritan’s Purse distributing centre in Calgary.

Community bands together to ship little parcels of joy

Church sends off 482 Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes to children in need thanks to donations

Children all around the world will be feeling some Christmas joy thanks to donations by generous families, organizations and clubs in Williams Lake.

On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 21, a group of women came together at the Cariboo Bethel Church to make some magic happen. When they first arrived in the hall, 482 bright red and green shoeboxes sat stacked one on top of the other in a massive pile in the corner.

The shoeboxes are labelled with three age categories, and by gender. Inside are toys and pencils, toothbrushes and books. Anything and everything a young child in a developing country might want or need.

Operation Christmas Child is a yearly campaign run by Samaritan’s Purse that sees shoeboxes packed and sent to children in need all over the world. According to Jasmine Alexander, office administrator for the Cariboo Bethel Church, there will be an “emphasis on Ukraine because of the political situation there,” although boxes packed in Canada will also travel to different countries in West Africa, Central America and even to Chile in South America.

Kara Vogt was one of the women who volunteered to help prepare the boxes for their journey overseas. She belongs to a moms group, who meet every Tuesday morning for some sharing, caring, praying, and free childcare.

She said it was an easy decision to volunteer the moms for the task of packing the individual shoeboxes into larger packing boxes for shipping.

“We gather them here, and then they get sent to Calgary to the Samaritan’s Purse warehouse and then they get sent all over the world from there,” she said.

Cariboo Bethel Church put together some of the shoeboxes themselves but, really, it was donations from all over Williams Lake that made it possible to send out 482 parcels of joy on Tuesday morning. Alexander estimates that at least 200 individuals dropped off donations at the church beginning as early as October. They officially stopped collecting on Nov. 17 so they would have time to ship the boxes to Calgary and excited children everywhere would receive their Christmas miracles.

Vogt says that she’s heard first hand what a difference a box full of goodies can make to a child’s life.

“I’ve worked with friends who are from the Philippines and they talk about when the shoeboxes came to their community and what a difference it made,” she notes. “The kids were so excited because they really had nothing and some of the communities that these go to are really destitute communities and it can bring joy and it can bring helpful things also.”

One story that stuck with Vogt, who remembers seeing it in a Samaritan’s Purse video, was that of a young girl who desperately wanted a training bra — something young women growing up in Canada may take for granted. Lo-and-behold, the shoebox this young woman received had a bra in it and she was thrilled.

“I wouldn’t even think of putting that into a shoebox and yet that was exactly what that little girl needed.”

That is why the Cariboo Bethel Church has been involved in collecting for Operation Christmas Child for over 15 years. It’s an opportunity to meet the needs of children and also bring some fun into their lives, especially at a time of year where giving is so important.

“There’s joy in giving and there’s joy in knowing that you are helping somebody and bringing joy to somebody else,” says Vogt. “I just want to give encouragement for people to look around and see who are the people in their lives who could use a little blessing.”

 

Emily Wolbeck stacks boxes at the Tuesday morning packing session.

Paige Mueller photos Grace Lau was one of the moms on hand to help pack the donated shoeboxes.

Some shoeboxes were unique and are certain to make a child in need very, very happy this holiday season.

Just Posted

Historic church destroyed by fire at Interior First Nations community

The Roman Catholic Church at Tl’esqox (Toosey) First Nation burned down Saturday

Two small wildfires burning in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

It is suspected both were lightning caused

Ed and Midori Kuziki confront challenges and live life to the fullest

The Kozukis have been avid volunteers in Williams Lake since they arrived more than 50 years ago

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

New ambulance hefty helper for Williams Lake paramedics

B.C. Emergency Health Services expands its operations in the Williams Lake area

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Northern B.C. cadet goes from English Channel to BC Summer Games

Amber Ly is taking her experience aboard the tall ship Royalist with to Cowichan July 19-22

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read