All Corbin Harker wanted for his birthday was to help others.
The eight-year-old from Nanaimo raised enough money to pack 68 shoeboxes as part of Operation Christmas Child.
Harker’s family filled one shoebox in recent years, but this year, leading up to his birthday in September, the youngster decided he’d prefer donations to charity instead of presents for himself. He continued to fundraise since then and surpassed his goal of 50 shoeboxes.
“A lot of churches didn’t do as many as he did by himself,” said Breanne Quist, a logistics coordinator with Operation Christmas Child. “It’s 68 more shoeboxes that are going to go out there that never would have been out there.”
The boxes of gifts go to children in need in far-off countries. The boxes include items like clothes, toys and toiletries. Quist said the shoeboxes are sometimes the only Christmas present a child will get in his or her lifetime.
“Most kids in different places don’t have this stuff,” Harker said. “[Operation] Christmas Child, it’s for giving to kids who don’t have stuff like this.”
More than 3,000 shoeboxes were filled in Nanaimo. There was a particular focus on filling boxes to be sent to the Ukraine, and Nanaimo’s Ukrainian Cultural Society supplied 50 knitted tuques for those shoeboxes.
Quist and another local volunteer will go to Calgary in December to help with sorting the shoeboxes.