Boys in Senegal check out their Canadian-packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. (Photo by Frank King)

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

The Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign received almost 500,000 boxes from across the country

Children in need in Africa and Central America will be receiving special packages over the next few weeks, thanks, in part, to the generosity of people in Maple Ridge.

Volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse collected 3,386 shoeboxes from this community filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene and other items during the 2019 Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign, that recently ended.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge charity filling shoeboxes with love

Across the province, there were 61,284 shoeboxes collected and 490,471 shoeboxes were packed by people right across the country.

Operation Christmas Child is an international campaign. A total of 10,569,405 boxes were collected, not only from Canada, but from the United States, U.K., Spain, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Australia, and New Zealand.

“We are extremely thankful to Canadians, many of whom are unemployed or facing significant economic uncertainty, for their generosity in continuing to support this vital program year after year,” said Randy Crosson, director of Operation Christmas Child Canada.

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

“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.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and hand-delivered more than 177 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 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 that provides aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution.

Where it is culturally appropriate, said the news release from the organization, all children who receive a shoebox are invited by them to attend a Samaritan’s Purse’s 12-lesson evangelism and discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. Since 2010, more than nine million children have decided to become Christians through this program.

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

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