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

A sign is seen this past summer outside Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in First Nation completes second round of vaccinations

A total of 26 people have since recovered from COVID-19 after having tested positive

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

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 City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read