Volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse are collecting as many cans and bottles to fill shoeboxes with school supplies and toys for children in need around the world.
On April 9 the group will be collecting the recyclables from 9-3 p.m. at Ridge Church for Operation Christmas Child, the annual campaign, sees volunteers fill shoeboxes with gift items for children.
The boxes are shipped to countries in Africa or South America for those who have little and will likely be receiving nothing for Christmas.
Provincially 53,789 shoeboxes were packed during last year’s campaign, up about 17 per cent from the 2020 campaign that saw 46,066 shoeboxes filled.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents packed 5,056 last year, up from 4,094 in 2020.
Across Canada, 413,875 shoeboxes were packed in 2021, which was an increase of more than 40,000 from 2020’s total.
According to Samaritan’s Purse Canada, a Christian relief and development organization, Operation Christmas Child has collected and hand-delivered almost 200 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 170 countries hurt by war, poverty, natural disaster, disease, and famine, since 1993.
The 2022 national collection week for Operation Christms Child is Nov. 14-20.
Barb Gustafson said each year the group holds a bottle drive in the spring and one at the end of August, in order to raise money to purchase school supplies when they are on sale.
“We will be set up with some tents,” noted Gustafson. “So people can’t miss us.”
Ridge Church is at the corner of 222 Street and Lougheed Highway at 22155 Lougheed Highway.
For more information go to samaritanspurse.ca/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.
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