Children in need around the world to receive 373,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from Canadians, including more than 4,000 from Maple Ridge. (Frank King/Special to The News)

Children in need around the world to receive 373,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from Canadians, including more than 4,000 from Maple Ridge. (Frank King/Special to The News)

Local shoeboxes filled with gifts being delivered around the globe

In 2020, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows residents pack more Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes than 2019

Children around the globe, including some in Costa Rica and Senegal, are grateful for the kindness of people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Local residents stepped up and filled thousands of shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and many other items during the 2020 Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign that recently ended.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Canadians “lovingly packed” 373,188 shoeboxes, 46,066 shoeboxes packed by B.C. residents, and of that, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents contributed 4,094 – a 20-per-cent increase compared to the previous year, said Samaritan’s Purse Canada’s Frank King.

RELATED: Boxes still available to fill for Ridge Meadows Operation Christmas Child

Distribution of the shoeboxes around the world has already begun. And, during the next few weeks, children in Central America and western Africa will be receiving shoeboxes packed by Canadians, King elaborated.

This was part of a worldwide total of 9,113,853 collected in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Australia, and New Zealand, said Randy Crosson, director of Operation Christmas Child Canada.

“Given the tremendous pandemic challenges all of us faced in 2020, we are extremely thankful to Canadians—many of whom are unemployed or facing economic uncertainty—for their generosity in continuing to support this program,” Crosson said.

“Each shoebox that someone fills is an opportunity to show hurting children that they are loved by God and by us, and the gifts Canadians have provided will once again bless children—many of whom have never before received a present,” he said.

Thousands of Canadians are taking advantage of Operation Christmas Child’s internet option that enables them to pack shoeboxes year round.

“Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows residents can still pack shoeboxes for children in need. Just visit www.PackaBox.ca and do it online,” King said.

RELATED: Meadowridge students give gifts for children abroad

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and hand-delivered more than 186 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 130 countries hurt by war, poverty, natural disaster, disease, and famine.

Operation Christmas Child is a program of Samaritan’s Purse Canada, a Christian relief and development organization.

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