The generosity of Salmon Arm residents saw a significant increase last year, surpassing that of the province in general, to help ensure more children in need had a merry Christmas.
In a summary of its 2023 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse reported that those packed in Salmon Arm saw a 27 per cent jump to 1,256 from 985 the previous year. The province as a whole saw an increase, though it was a more modest three per cent, up to 53,945 shoeboxes from 52,498, with these local contributions adding to Canada’s total of 425,209.
“We are thrilled to see the enthusiastic participation of Canadians in Operation Christmas Child,” Canadian director Kendra Shields said in Feb. 8 media release. “It is very encouraging to know that so many generous people want to give hope and joy to children in need around the world.”
The project, which began in 1993, has collected and delivered 220 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in 170 countries, with many of them suffering from war, poverty, disease and disaster. Filled with little gifts like toys, school supplies and personal care products, the boxes bring joy to kids in need, and share the true meaning of Christmas.
Many shoebox packers shop for deals on items throughout the year, though drop-off locations don’t start accepting the boxes until November. People can, however, continue to give anytime by sponsoring a box online, with the Samaritan team then packing it with school supplies, toys and a t-shirt. People giving that way can also opt to follow their shoebox, and will receive an email with an update once the organization knows which country it will be sent to. Destinations are chosen and announced in late December.
More information, and virtual shoeboxes, can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ.
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