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

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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Emily Wolbeck stacks boxes at the Tuesday morning packing session.

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.

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.

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

Just Posted

Members of the 100 Mile RCMP cracked down on prohibited drivers on Wednesday, Nov. 25 along with the Williams Lake RCMP. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
RCMP Joint Force Operation targets ‘priority offenders and prohibited drivers’ in 100 Mile area

Officers from 100 Mile House and Williams Lake were involved in this roving operation

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘It was just a matter of time’: SD27 superintendent confirms two COVID-19 cases at LCSS

An entire PE class is self-isolating as Interior Health engages in contact tracing

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Most Read