Gifts for Third World kids

Res­i­dents en­cour­aged to con­trib­ute to an­nual cam­paign for Op­er­a­tion christ­mas child

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - NEWS - Ron GRech

a lo­cal ef­fort and an­nual drive to make christ­mas brighter for kids in third World coun­tries is un­der­way.

Op­er­a­tion christ­mas child is a cam­paign which most peo­ple as­so­ciate with its green and red “shoe boxes” that are filled with small toys, trin­kets and school sup­plies and sent to kids in de­pressed ar­eas of latin amer­ica and africa.

these christ­mas-themed shoe boxes can be picked up at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across the city.

how­ever, Peggy ben­dell, the pro­gram’s area co­or­di­na­tor for Por­cu­pine-timmins, said the boxes “don’t have to be the red and green ones that we pro­vide. if you’ve got your own shoe box or boot box, or one of these re-sealeable plas­tic boxes from the dol­lar stores, that’s fine.

“these plas­tic ones are great be­cause the kids and can use them over and over again at home.”

there has been ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in Op­er­a­tion christ­mas child in timmins since 1995.

“Over 40,000 boxes have been do­nated from this com­mu­nity to these chil­dren in war-torn ar­eas, dis­as­ter ar­eas” through­out that time, said ben­dell.

Op­er­a­tion christ­mas child is a cam­paign over­seen by a non­de­nom­i­na­tional evan­gel­i­cal chris­tian or­ga­ni­za­tion called samaritan’s Purse canada.

“they part­ner with our sup­port­ers in canada and with lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, usu­ally churches, abroad to pro­vide com­pas­sion­ate and cost-ef­fec­tive as­sis­tance to any­one who needs it, re­gard­less of re­li­gion, race, gen­der or so­cio-eco­nomic stand­ing,” said ben­dell.

she said their char­i­ta­ble ef­forts are not forced upon any­one.

“they work within a com­mu­nity with the bless­ing of the lo­cal lead­ers.”

those putting to­gether a “shoe box of hope” need to de­ter­mine whether their gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age cat­e­gory. the age cat­e­gories for the boxes are two to four, five to nine and 10 to 14.

ben­dell said donors are en­cour­aged to fill their shoe box with a “well-bal­anced va­ri­ety of items” from the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories:

• School sup­plies — items such as pen­cils, pens, pen­cil crayons, note pads and pic­ture books;

• Toys and other gifts — items such as stuffed an­i­mals, small mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, hair clips, cos­tume jew­ellery, t-shirts and socks; and

• Hy­giene items such as hard soaps or tooth­brushes (no liq­uids or pastes).

“For the older boys, a small tool box with a ham­mer, wrench and screw driver are sug­gested,” said ben­dell.

“some peo­ple put mit­tens and toques, and you go, ‘Why would you send those to africa?’ it’s be­cause when it gets win­ter there and it goes down to 30 c, they’re cold. in some ar­eas when they’re up in the moun­tains, it gets aw­ful cold at night. so they can take mit­tens and toques.”

those wish­ing to pick up or drop off an Op­er­a­tion christ­mas child shoe box can do so at the fol­low­ing lo­ca­tions: timmins square in­for­ma­tion booth, sta­ples busi­ness de­pot, Jorie’s Fine cloth­ing, and any of the canada Post lo­ca­tions in timmins, schu­macher and south Por­cu­pine.

you can also pick up boxes from the canada Posts of­fice in Por­cu­pine but they can­not ac­com­mo­date at that lo­ca­tion.

dead­line for drop­ping off boxes is Nov. 17.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call ben­dell at 705-235-5121.

Ron GRech/The Daily Press

Peggy Ben­dell, area co­or­di­na­tor for Por­cu­pine-Timmins with Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child, says the 2018 cam­paign is un­der­way. Filled boxes need to be dropped off by Nov. 17.

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