Operation Christmas Child taking donations

Operation Christmas Child gives families a chance to fill a shoebox full of gifts for needy children overseas.

Operation Christmas Child gives families a chance to fill a shoebox full of gifts for needy children overseas.

The project is run by the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief agency, and through Operation Christmas Child, locals are joining tens of thousands of people across Canada to fill empty shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and a fee of $7 per box for shipping costs, for impoverished children around the world.

Due to custom regulations, candy is no longer accepted in the shoeboxes.

These gifts from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be transported to suffering children in Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Nepal and Ukraine (warm clothes needed).

The organization uses all means necessary – trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds – to get the shoeboxes into the hands of kids, said organizer Barb Gustafson.

The local collection will take place on Nov. 16-22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maple Ridge Baptist Church, at 222nd Street and Lougheed Highway.

• Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. For more information on how to participate call Barb at 604-467-9794 or visit www.SamaritansPurse.ca/occ.