Operation Christmas Child’s shoebox campain is underway. (Frank King, Samaritan’s Purse Canada/Special to The News)

Operation Christmas Child’s shoebox campain is underway. (Frank King, Samaritan’s Purse Canada/Special to The News)

Christian charity kicks off annual shoebox campaign Operation Christmas Child

Last year residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows filled 4,094 shoeboxes

A national Christmas shoebox campaign has just kicked off to deliver toys, school supplies and hygiene items to children in need around the world.

Every year at this time Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and development organization, invites the public to fill a shoe box for their campaign called Operation Christmas Child.

The 2020 Christmas campaign saw 373,188 shoeboxes packed across Canada, 46,066 were packed by B.C. residents – including 4,094 by residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. This was a 20 per cent increase over the 2019 campaign during which 3,386 shoeboxes were filled by local residents.

Last year shoeboxes were delivered to children in West Africa and Central America.

The organization is appealing for individuals, families, churches, business, sports teams, and community groups to pack shoeboxes with items that could include: toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up or make sounds with some extra batteries; school supplies like pens, pencils, sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, calculators, colouring books, picture books; non-liquid hygiene items like toothbrushes, bars of soap, combs, washcloths; accessories like T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights; crafts like hair bows, finger puppets, friendship bracelets; or a personal note and photo of yourself, your family, or your group.

Items that should not be included are: candy; toothpaste; used or damaged items; war-related items like toy guns, toy knives, military figures; chocolate or food; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes either powdered or liquid; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items like snow globes or glass containers; or aerosol cans.

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

ALSO: Local shoeboxes filled with gifts being delivered around the globe

This year the agency is also offering a service for people to pack boxes online.

A donation of $10 per box is also needed to cover shipping and other program costs.

National shoebox collection week will take place from Nov. 15-21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maple Ridge Baptist Church, 22155 Lougheed Highway.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed more than 187 million shoebox gifts in over 100 countries.

Besides Operation Christmas Child,their work includes providing safe water, vocational skills, and agricultural supplies and training to families in the developing world.

For more information about the local campaign contact Barb Gustafson at 778-881-9794.

For more information about the organization go to SamaritansPurse.ca.

Have a story tip? Email: cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

charitymaple ridgePitt Meadows