Operation Christmas Child campaign now underway in Weyburn area

Weyburn and area residents are encouraged to fill shoeboxes with toys and school supplies for Operation Christmas Child, with displays set up at the Wholesale Club and Co-op food stores.

Imagine living in such poverty that a child could not go to school because their family could not afford school supplies, such as pencils and paper or shoes to wear. This is very common in many countries where Operation Christmas Child delivers shoebox gifts each year. In the photo above, a boy named Peter was happy to receive a box in El Salvador, packed by Bev Alexander of Weyburn last year.

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Operation Christmas Child encourages participants to include school suppolies in every shoebox pack. Items that are taken for granted in Canada are special in many countries as many boys and girls receive their first-ever Christmas gift.

It is easy to participate in Operation Christmas Child, as you select a gender and age, with the categories being 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14 years of age, and have fun shopping. In addition to school supplies and hygiene items, be sure to include a “wow” item, like a deflated soccer ball and pump, a doll, or stuffed animals.

Tape the label on the top on the box and include $10 per box to cover the shipping expenses.

The boxes from Weyburn will be collected at the Free Methodist Church, the local depot for the campaign, and then will be shipped to the Calgary processing centre, where the box will be inspected.

No item is removed from a box unless it is not appropriate to be in the box, such as food, candy, toothpaste, liquids or war-related toys.

Lists of appropriate items, and of the top 100 favourite shoebox items, are available at the displays at the food stores, along with boxes available for the public to take and fill.

Items which are inappropriate include air or liquid squishy toys, camouflage, candy, capsules, decks of cards, dice, feathers, firecrackers, furs, all food items, glow sticks, knives, liquids (including shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash), medicines, mirrors that are not encased, play money, perfume sticks, seeds, vitamins or wipes that contain alcohol.

The top 10 items from the list of the top 100 best things include baby powder, baby wet wipes (non-medicated), ball, balloons, bandages, bandanas, bar of soap, beads, Bibles and a brush.

Packing a shoebox gift is such a small thing for us, but it has a big impact on a child their family when it reaches its destination.

Collection week for the boxes is Nov. 16 to 24, with the deadline on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3:30 p.m.