Shoebox of Christmas cheer
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.