Shoebox drive ‘amazing’

OPERATION CHRISTMAS Child Shoebox Campaign in the northwest took off and filled more boxes than expected.

KATHY MCKAY'S and Karen Brandenbarg's Grade 8 classes put together 63 shoeboxes for the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Campaign

OPERATION CHRISTMAS Child Shoebox Campaign in the northwest took off and filled more boxes than expected.

“It’s been an amazing response and not just here,” said Louise Freeman, who coordinates the campaign here.

“Prince Rupert phoned me and needed another 200 [boxes]. Kitimat had 16 boxes left. I’ve just ordered another 300 coming in now,” she said early last week.

She was in the Dollar Store one day when she overheard a little girl telling her dad they had to get a shoebox. Her dad had no idea what she was talking about.

“This child was maybe eight or nine so not a little, little child but wow she was so excited,” said Freeman.

“A child wanting to give to another child is exciting to see.”

Freeman had 900 shoeboxes, not counting all the other plastic shoebox-sized containers that people might use if they can’t get an official shoebox.

“If people bring them back, then I would think we’ll hit a record this year,” she said.

Freeman was able to get an extension from Greyhound, which ships the boxes for free, up to the end of this month, an extra seven days or so.

Freeman thanked Greyhound and the community for its overwhelming response this year.

“It’s really exciting,” she said.

“People seem to have decided this is a real  positive thing.”

Operation Christmas Child started in 1990 and is part of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization run by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.

Shoeboxes are collected year round but the official collection week is usually in November and then they’re shipped out around the world.

They are filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys and candy for children of both genders and a variety of ages.

This year, it’s expected that the 100 millionth shoebox will be collected.

Shoeboxes collected from Canada this year will be distributed to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uruguay and Venezuela.