Children in need around the world will get a ray of Christmas cheer again this year through Operation Christmas Child.
The annual charity drive is a division of Samaritan’s Purse where people fill a shoebox with gifts for children in underdeveloped countries.
Operation Christmas Child started in 1993 and has helped 94 million children in 130 countries. This year the organization plans to ship its 100 millionth box.
Donating is simple. Each shoebox gift is filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys and candy. Donors can pick up and fill their own boxes to have sent overseas or purchase a prepared box of items. The boxes are given to boys and girls of all ages, religions and cultures.
Kerry Wagler, logistics coordinator for Vancouver Island, said last year the organization sent 2,400 boxes from Nanaimo.
“This year we’re aiming for 3,000 boxes, but we have a lot more drop off points this year,” he said.
The First Baptist Church at 1560 Waddington Rd. in Nanaimo is the collection and shipping centre for the Island. From there the boxes are sent to Calgary for distribution around the world.
The church held an Operation Christmas Child fundraiser garage sale Saturday to help with fundraising costs.
“That’s so we have a budget for advertising and things going on so we can promote this even more,” Wagler said. “Really what we want to do is get the community involved. You will not believe how much stuff there is. It’s going to be huge.”
Operation Christmas Child boxes can be picked up and dropped off at the church or at pick up locations around Nanaimo, including the News Bulletin, Poplar Street; The Buzz Coffee Shop, Uplands Drive; Diver Lake Dental Clinic, Shenton Road; Rona Home Building Centre in Chase River; Christian Book andMusic Store, Princess Royal Avenue; and The Quilted Duck Gift Cottage on Rutherford Road.
The boxes will be collected Nov. 19-25. The deadline for delivering boxes to drop off centres is Nov. 24.
For more information about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, please go to www.samaritanspurse.ca.