Handmade stuffed animals that will put into shoeboxes this year. (Barb Gustafson/Special to The News)

Handmade stuffed animals that will put into shoeboxes this year. (Barb Gustafson/Special to The News)

Boxes still available to fill for Ridge Meadows Operation Christmas Child

Drop-off for Operation Christmas Child will take place Nov. 16-22

Boxes of Christmas cheer are being gathered for children in need around the world.

Operation Christmas Child is currently underway where people in the community can fill a shoebox with gifts that will be distributed to children living in poverty in West Africa, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Last year 4,496 boxes were put together throughout Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

However, Barb Gustafson, coordinator of Operation Christmas Child for Ridge Meadows, is hesitant to have a goal this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You always try to exceed your goal, but because of the COVID we know that’s really disrupted a lot of people’s lives,” said Gustafson, adding that she is not expecting a large amount.

“I will be very happy if we get 3,000,” she said.

This year, members of Maple Ridge Baptist Church will be putting together 1,200 boxes. Last year they did 1,500 boxes, noted Gustafson.

Boxes can be picked up at either Dollar Tree in Maple Ridge – at 11932 207 St. or at Haney Place Mall.

Then they can be filled with items such as stuffed toys, pens, pencils, notepads, socks, soccer balls with pumps, skipping ropes, non-liquid person hygiene items like toothbrushes and soap or anything else that can fit into the box.

In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows volunteers have been working hard all year to make hand-made items for the boxes, explained Gustafson. Items like crocheted soap bags that also serve as a wash cloths, and felt animal stuffies in the shape of kittens, dinosaurs, butterflies, elephants and puppies.

Also a group of volunteers have put together sanitary kits for older girls, aged 10 to 14.

READ MORE: Once a child in a refugee camp, now a promoted of Operation Christmas Child

“Because some girls can’t go to school when they get their period,” noted Gustafson.

“Having this kit allows them to still go to school and have something that is useful to them,” she added.

Gustafson is quick to point out that there are items that are not allowed in the shoe boxes including: toothpaste; any liquids; candy; used or damaged items; war-related items like toy guns, knives or military figures; food or powdered drink mixes; lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items; or aerosol cans.

Gustafson has been working with Operation Christmas Child since 2000 and has been on four trips to hand out boxes.

During these trips she would often hear people say that they can’t believe somebody from so far away would think about them and care about them.

She loves helping the children.

READ MORE: Thousands of shoeboxes for children in need donated by Maple Ridge residents

“Giving them a measure of happiness, especially so they don’t feel forgotten,” she said.

She is also constantly touched by generosity in the community. One man, in particular, who came into the drop-off centre last year, who could only afford to donate 25 cents to the cause after he learned what they were doing.

“He insisted that we take this coin for the children,” explained Gustafson, even though it was all the money he had.

“Just the whole meaning behind that was so touching to us,” she said.

Since 1993, and regardless of race or religion, Operation Christmas Child has given over 167 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children living in poverty, war, famine and disease in more than 160 countries, added Gustafson.

According to their website, Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, the organization has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine, “with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ”.

This year boxes can be dropped off at Maple Ridge Baptist Church at 222 Street and Lougheed Hwy. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Nov. 16-22.

In order to protect people during the pandemic, it will be a drive-by drop-off event where volunteers will unload the boxes from the cars, so donors don’t have to exit their vehicles.

The boxes will then be placed in cartons to be sent to Calgary where they will be processed before being sent to their destination countries.

For more information on what to include in a shoebox go to samaritanspurse.ca.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Charity and Donationsmaple ridgePitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows author Amanda Muratoff. (Kyle Cumming/Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows author releases seventh book in fantasy series

Rise of the Renegades is part of a series Amanda Muratoff has been writing with Kayla Mansur

Howard Done and his wife were walking through the Yennadon neighbourhood of Maple Ridge, when they encountered this young buck relaxing in the grass on a vacant lot at the corner of 232nd Street and 128th Avenue. "He didn't seem to be bothered by any of the traffic, pedestrians or dogs," Done noted. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Young buck caught lounging in Yennadon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Aman Kaywan is all smiles after donating $5,000 to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation. (Special to The News).
Charitable Maple Ridge man says,”You don’t have to be rich to make a difference.”

Aman Kaywan saved up to donate $5,000 to Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Tabor Home in Abbotsford records 8 deaths and 124 COVID-19 cases

63 per cent of residents at long-term-care facility have tested positive

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Most Read