Ordinary objects became extraordinary for Melissa Kohonick and Jenni Ference, who both travelled to Uruguay, South America as part of a shoe box distribution team for Operation Christmas Child.
A special presentation on their trip will be presented at the Free Methodist Church on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7 to 8 p.m. This will be the official kickoff for the 2102 Operation Christmas Child shoe box project for Weyburn and area.
“The thought of children not receiving school supplies, hygiene items or basic toys for stimulation makes me shake my head and think ‘really’? For boys and girls in many countries of the world, this is a very unfortunate fact,” said Ference.
During the Operation Christmas Child program, residents are encouraged to create a shoe box for a child in a Third World Country. Anyone can create a shoe box, and it can be a fun activity for a businesses, organizations or school-groups.
Brochures on the shoe boxes are available at the Free Methodist Church, and they include a complete list of appropriate and inappropriate items. Each shoe box should have suggested items, such as hygiene items, school supplies, toys, hard candy and clothing.
Shoe boxes should also be themed to either a boy or a girl, and there are different age categories for item selection.
“Imagine seeing your first pencil that you can actually call yours, or receiving paper that you can write or draw whatever you want … this is the mindset that we can’t even imagine in the life of some of these children,” said Ference.
Shoe boxes are collected every fall in communities across Canada, and then are distributed to Third World Countries and to areas of the world that were affected by famine, war and natural disasters.
For each shoe box that is created, $7 should be included to cover shipping costs.
In 2010, there were 1,290 shoe boxes collected in Weyburn and area, and this increased by 25 per cent in 2011. Shoe boxes for this area are collected at the Free Methodist Church, and after collection and inspection they are sent to the processing centre in Calgary.
“A day in the life of distributing shoe boxes is absolutely amazing and life-changing,” said Ference.
“There are no words to describe the experience of many children opening gifts from Canada and humbly receiving them with so much appreciation.