As she watched 400 Operation Christmas shoeboxes filled with gifts for poor children around the world depart on a Greyhound bus in Williams Lake, Linda Fornwald said the community response was fabulous.
“We’ve had less and more in other years, but again this year we had a huge response,” Fornwald said from the Cariboo Bethel Church.
For 12 years she has helped co-ordinate the effort. The shoeboxes are filled with hygiene items, school supplies, clothes, toys and candy.
“I know the child who receives one of the boxes will only receive one once,” Fornwald said. “I have CDs filled with stories of children receiving a box I share with people.”
Greyhound ships the boxes to Calgary free of charge every year. From there the boxes go by plane, boats, even camels.
This Christmas Canadian boxes will reach children in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.
“These boxes go to the poorest of the poor,” Fornwald said. “Some people used shoelaces for ribbons even. It was really neat.”
Williams Lake and area shoppers also helped Ten Thousand Villages sell $30,000 worth of fair trade products last weekend.
Goods sold at the Ten Thousand Villages craft sale, held at Cariboo Bethel Church, were made by more than 100 artisan groups providing work to more than 60,000 individuals, 70 per cent of them women.