Linda Fornwald with some of the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes that are coming in for children in need around the world.

Linda Fornwald with some of the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes that are coming in for children in need around the world.

Gift-filled shoeboxes cheer children in need around the world

There are two ways to help support the Operation Christmas Child program this year.

There are two ways to help support the Operation Christmas Child program this year.

People can take the traditional route of filling a shoebox with gifts for a child in need or they can pack their shoebox donation online, or perhaps do both.

A program of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child is a hands-on project that allows individuals and groups to help bring joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world, through gift-filled shoeboxes.

In Williams Lake Operation Christmas Child is spearheaded by volunteers at Cariboo Bethel Church.

“Last year we had almost 500 boxes donated. It was wonderful,” says Linda Fornwald, one of the program organizers.

She says one woman who wishes to remain anonymous filled 50 shoeboxes.

Worldwide almost 10 million gift-filled shoeboxes were collected worldwide.

People can pick up the distinctive pre-made shoeboxes at the church on Western Avenue along with a brochure outlining the program and what types of items to put in the shoe boxes.

People can choose to pack the box for a boy or a girl (age groups 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14).

Regular shoe boxes can also be used but the box and lid must be gift-wrapped separately to allow for inspection.

The boxes should be filled with a well-balanced variety of school supplies, toys, and hygiene products as well as a personal note and photo if you wish.

Suggested items include pens, pencils, pencil crayons, note pads, picture books, facecloth, toothbrush, comb, soap (in a sealed bag), loose individually wrapped hard candy.

Toys might include stuffed animals, small musical instruments, hair clips, toy jewellery, T-shirts, socks, wrapped hard candy.

The box should not include any food items or anything that could break, leak, melt, or scare and harm a child.

Operation Christmas Child also requests a donation of $7 with each shoebox donated to help cover the cost of administration, training volunteers, warehousing and shipping the boxes.

Fornwald says the boxes collected in Williams Lake will go to a central warehouse in Canada where each box is checked to make sure the items in the boxes are appropriate before they are sent on to the receiving countries.

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes also opens the doors for Samaritan’s Purse to provide children, families and communities with access to clean water, food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance and more.

The deadline for filling the shoeboxes is coming up Friday, Nov. 21 coinciding with the CaribooBethel Church’s annual Ten Thousand Villages fair trade sale.

People who may not have time to shop for and pack a shoebox or who may wish to donate more shoeboxes than they have time to fill, may do so on line at

Samaritan’s Purse has been providing humanitarian aid in 100 countries around the world for more than 35 years.

This work encompasses the provision of safe water, food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance, and educational resources.

Samaritan’s Purse works to meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine, regardless of race, religion, or gender.


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