More than 1,400 shoeboxes filled with gifts from the B.C. Peace region will soon be making their way to kids in need throughout the world.
Another season of Operation Christmas Child came to an end in Fort St. John this month, as 1,427 shoeboxes were loaded onto pallets at the Alliance Church and sent on their way.
“Any big event takes much time and effort and hours of work. Operation Christmas Child is no exception,” says Crystal Holden, volunteer regional and area co-ordinator for the mission.
“From the youngest to the oldest and everyone in between... Hundreds of behind-the-scenes workers and volunteers come together all year to support and organize this worldwide event each year.”
Local volunteers put in hundreds of hours over the last three months to pack and prepare shoeboxes in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and surrounding communities.
The shoeboxes were gathered during national collection week Nov. 14 to 20, and shipped to Calgary through Samaritan’s Purse.
From there, they’ll be sent to children in Central America (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica), in Africa (Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Sierra Leone), and in Ukraine and the Philippines.
Holden says 2022 saw the 200th million shoebox packed since Operation Christmas Child mission began in 1993.
The locally packed shoeboxes filled 67 shipping cartons packed onto six pallets.
The boxes were filled with everything from soaps and stuffed animals, to toothbrushes and combs, to sunglasses and school supplies, and other goodies.