-0.4 C
Monday, November 18, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Shopping and gift-giving come early with Operation Christmas Child

Local organizers making a big push this week to prepare shoeboxes for international destinations


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...

Harold Albrecht back to MP’s duties after suffering a minor stroke

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht is back to work after recovering from a stroke earlier in the month. Albrecht, 69, was...


overcast clouds
-0.4 ° C
1 °
-1.7 °
86 %
90 %
5 °
4 °
2 °
6 °
10 °

You may not have started your Christmas shopping, but there’s an early-bird option that may also help get you in the spirit of giving, as Operation Christmas Child is in full swing right now.

This week, in fact, the charitable organization is making its annual push for gift-filled shoeboxes that will soon be shipped off to points around the globe in an effort to spread holiday cheer.

“The idea is to bring a special Christmas present to children in these nations that may have never received anything like that before,” said local organizer Gail Martin.

The campaign collects various items such as hygiene products, school supplies, and small toys that are put in a shoebox parcel. The box is then sent overseas to youngsters in developing nations. November 12-18 is go-time, says Martin, noting the kids who receive the parcels often live in war zones or in poor conditions such that they would not otherwise have the chance to get a gift.

“It’s really neat. It gets people in the Christmas spirit,” said Martin. “It’s really fun shopping with children for these shoeboxes, because they love thinking of what kind of things they would like, and they pick them out and put them in the shoebox. They can feel really special about blessing someone so far away.”

Operation Christmas Child, first launched in 1990, is a program of the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse, which does year-round work on projects such as building schools and clean-water systems in the developing world.

Emmanuel Evangelical Missionary Church is serving as the official collection centre for Operation Christmas Child in the Elmira area. The site expects to see extra traffic this year, as residents who may have brought shoeboxes to the Kitchener warehouse in past years no longer have that option – the new storage and shipping facility is in Woodstock as of this year.

Such logistics aside, the program remains the same as always, notes Martin, adding items for the shoebox can range from the practical – toiletries and school supplies – to the recreational and entertaining.

“It could be almost anything,” said Martin, on potential gift ideas. “We recommend toiletry items like maybe a toothbrush, soap or a washcloth, that kind of thing. You could fit some smaller items of clothing in the shoebox. There are also items like pencils, pencil crayons and little pads of paper because children might not have access to that. Small toys work as well.”

She recommended packing hard candies instead of chocolate, as chocolate tends to melt on the journey overseas. Another idea is to leave a handwritten note in the shoebox for the child to read.

“Sometimes people write back,” said Martin. “So it’s a way of finding out how your shoebox was received and learn a little bit about the family that has benefitted from it.”

Operation Christmas Child provides gifts for children up to age 14 in locations around the world, including the likes of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Sierra Leone, Gift-givers have the option to target their shoebox towards a specific age range and gender.

“So if you’re shopping with your children and you want to teach them the meaning of the holidays and how good it is to give, they can actually go and pick out a gift for a child their age,” said Martin.

Those interested can use their own shoebox or pick one up at Emmanuel Evangelical Missionary Church. We are currently in the midst of the collection week, which runs from November 12-18. The church office is open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the week and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, contact Gail Martin directly at 519-589-8521 or visit their website.

Participants also have the option of packing a shoebox online.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Pair of convincing wins sees Jacks improve record

A pair of wins last weekend saw the Wellesley Applejacks jump a notch in the PJHL standings to claim second place in...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

Woolwich adopts new landscape guidelines for subdivisions as part of greening initiatives

Talk of trees right now typically involved the adjective Christmas, but Woolwich council is focusing just now on guidelines for planting in new...

Wellesley rec. complex project moves into fundraising mode

Wellesley Township having cleared the way for a potential new $22-million recreation complex, the focus is now on putting together a fundraising campaign...

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...
- Advertisement -