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

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Taskeo Mines Ltd.’s Gibraltar Mine has released its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report titled Sustainability: Our Low Carbon Future. (Photo submitted)
Gibraltar Mine gets top marks for limiting greenhouse gas emissions

Taseko Mines Limited has published its annual report on its sustainability performance for 2020

Maude and R.C. Cotton, at the Cotton Ranch in the Chilcotin. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Cariboo history of R.C. Cotton

Who was R.C. Cotton and why is his name associated with this site?

Have a letter? Email editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: B.C. mine permitting process needs to change to avoid layoffs

I can’t believe a permit to reopen Gib East Pit has been delayed again.

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

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

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Most Read