When Greyhound announced it would be pulling service in western provinces, Terrace organizers suddenly found themselves scrambling to find a way to deliver approximately 600 Operation Christmas Child boxes by late November.
For years, Greyhound has delivered the shoeboxes for the Samaritan’s Purse free of charge. The shoeboxes are usually filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys and candy for children in countries across the world.
Left without a way to deliver the boxes this year, the Samaritan’s Purse was able to secure delivery services from Prince Rupert down south to the collection centre in Calgary — but there was still the question of how these hundreds of shoeboxes would make it out of Terrace.
“The trucking company in Rupert said they would stop here, but it would be a $500 stop,” says organizer Louise Freeman. “It was just impossible.”
That’s when local transportation service Bandstra stepped in and offered to deliver the boxes free of charge.
“Now with Greyhound no longer serving the North, we felt the need to step up and help pick up and transport the boxes for Samaritan Purse to their destination,” wrote Sid Bandstra in an email to the Terrace Standard.
Organizers were then able to go ahead with operations at the Terrace collection centre, stationed at the Terrace Pentecostal Church this year, knowing the shoeboxes would be delivered.
Without their help, Freeman says she isn’t sure if the boxes would have made it out of Terrace.
“I just wanted to cry because it was such a relief,” says Freeman.
She says owner Sid Bandstra has already offered transportation for the boxes again next year.
The boxes from Terrace and the Hazeltons will be shipped from Calgary to children in need in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Ukraine.