Shoe­box of Christ­mas cheer

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Wim­mera res­i­dents can again put a smile on the face of a child in need this Christ­mas through non-profit Chris­tian or­gan­i­sa­tion Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse.

Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse pro­vides emer­gency re­lief and de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance to suf­fer­ing peo­ple around the world.

It’s big­gest pro­ject, Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child, is un­der­way and every year pro­vides thou­sands of chil­dren liv­ing in poverty with gift­filled shoe­boxes packed by fam­i­lies, churches, schools and busi­nesses through­out Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Wim­mera area co-or­di­na­tor Ann Ro­hde said in 2017, Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child shipped 327,451 shoe­boxes to chil­dren in seven coun­tries.

“When a child opens a shoe­box, they’re open­ing more than a present – they’re open­ing up a world of life-chang­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

“Through Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child, Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse is able to con­nect with com­mu­ni­ties and meet other vi­tal needs in­clud­ing safe wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and health.

“We can also share the Gospel mes­sage.”

Shoe­boxes given by peo­ple in Aus­tralia and New Zealand are sent to South­east Asia and the South Pa­cific.

Last year 54,408 shoe­boxes from Vic­to­ria were dis­trib­uted to kids in Cam­bo­dia, Thai­land, Viet­nam, Pa­pua New Guinea and the Philip­pines.

“For most of these chil­dren it would have been the first time they had ever re­ceived a gift,” Mrs Ro­hde said.

Peo­ple can fill shoe­boxes with gifts for boys or girls aged two to four, five to nine, or 10 to 14 years.

There are six cat­e­gories of gifts and at least one item from each cat­e­gory should go into a shoe­box.

Cat­e­gories are: Some­thing for hy­giene, such as a tooth­brush, soap and face washer; some­thing for school, coloured pen­cils, pens, ruler, eraser, sharp­ener and ex­er­cise books or notepads; some­thing to wear, hat, cap, t-shirt, shorts, skirt, thongs, san­dals; some­thing to play with, skip­ping rope, ten­nis ball, puz­zles, har­mon­ica, cars, yo-yo; some­thing to love, teddy or soft toy; and some­thing spe­cial, sun­glasses, carry bag, stick­ers, craft kit and so on. The box should be com­fort­ably full. “A do­na­tion of $10 a box is im­por­tant to cover the cost of get­ting the gift-filled shoe­box into the hands of an ex­cited boy or girl,” Mrs Ro­hde said.

“There are many items that are not per­mit­ted in shoe­boxes be­cause of reg­u­la­tions or to pro­tect chil­dren who might have ex­pe­ri­enced con­flict.

“Please re­fer to our brochure be­fore pack­ing a box.”

Brochures and preprinted shoe­boxes, for a cost of 50 cents, are avail­able in Horsham at Horsham Dis­pos­als and Cheap as Chips – brochures only; Eden­hope, Melin­dari Fash­ions; Nhill, Cam­brelle’s; Kaniva, Heart­felt; Rain­bow, Rain­bow Newsagency; War­rackn­abeal, Chris­tian Book­shop or Angie Cox on 0438 981 460; Don­ald, the HUB; Beu­lah, Busi­ness Cen­tre; Stawell, Wendy Collins on 0488 110 684; and Ararat, Peter Flem­ing on 0438 381 043.

Filled shoe­boxes need to be re­turned to the above con­tacts by mid-oc­to­ber.

Peo­ple can call Mrs Ro­hde on 5381 2180 or 0467 239 493 or visit web­site op­er­a­tionchrist­maschild.org.au for more in­for­ma­tion.

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