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Shoebox organizer steps back after more than a decade

Each year she gathered a volunteer crew
Operation Christmas Child shoebox volunteers gather around Louise Freeman to wish her the best after years of organizing the Samaritan’s Purse project. (Staff photo)

Wellwishers gathered at a meeting room at the Terrace Pentecostal Assembly Nov. 2 to say thanks and enjoy a slice of cake with Louise Freeman who has spent the last 13 years organizing the local Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign.

It was a fitting location as the room has also served as this year’s location where toys, clothing, toiletries, school supplies and other amenities are being packed in shoeboxes for distribution to children overseas.

These shoeboxes are in addition to the ones residents throughout the area filled themselves with the overall goal of having more than 1,000 shoeboxes ready to be shipped Nov. 18.

Freeman said she took over organizing the campaign from Eleanore Froese and was herself introduced to the shoeboxes while working at Grace Fell Florist as that store contributed one each year.

In the early days, Freeman said she and the shoebox campaign organizer in Smithers made a trip to Calgary to see how things were organized.

Calgary is the home of Samaritan’s Purse, the founding charity of the shoebox campaign and a warehouse it maintains in Calgary is the destination for all shoeboxes prior to sending them overseas for distribution.

“We just wanted to see how they were handled,” she said. “They had security people just to make sure nothing was disturbed.”

What makes assembling a shoebox so appealing is that it can be done by anyone at any age, Freeman continued.

“So from a child’s perspective, it’s perfect. This is something they can do,” she said.

“For other people, they can just do what they can. There’s value in what people can do. It’s very personal,” she said.

Freeman’s replacement is Jennifer Forde who will be responsible for both Terrace and Kitimat.

“Louise’s passion for sending small, meaningful gifts to children in need has been truly inspiring,” she said.

About the Author: Rod Link

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