Christmas shoebox campaign underway

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is less than three months away. And as such, “Operation Christmas Child,” the annual shoebox campaign, is now underway.
The campaign sends shoeboxes full of small gifts to children in countries ravaged by war, famine, and natural disasters.
“It’s a great program,” said local volunteer Marg Rousseau, who has been involved with “Operation Christmas Child” for seven years.
“I do get a good response every year,” she noted.
Local churches, schools, and residents all have contributed to the success of the program.
Students at St. Francis and St. Michael’s schools here participate nearly every year. “It’s wonderful because it is about children helping children, and adults,” Rousseau said.
Since 1993, more than 38 million shoeboxes have been delivered to children in more than 100 countries.
The process is simple: take a regular shoebox with a lid, wrap it in Christmas paper or decorate it (optional), fill it with gifts, and put a cheque for $5 on top of it to cover shipping costs.
Some suggested gifts include toys like small cars, balls, stuffed animals, jump ropes, yo-yos, and small musical instruments like harmonicas and kazoos.
The children also can use practical items like pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or pencil crayons, colouring books, and writing pads, as well as hygiene items like toothbrushes, combs, washcloths, and mild bar soap in plastic.
Other fun items to send are hard-wrapped candy, ball caps, socks, hair clips, T-shirts, and small picture books.
It is important not to include any food items (except hard-wrapped candy), any used items, or anything that could melt, freeze, leak, break, or scare or harm a child.
Using a label, you also can indicate whether the box is intended for a girl or a boy, and whether the gifts inside are intended for a child aged two-four, five-nine, or 10-14.
Canada Safeway is the local sponsor for “Operation Christmas Child.” Information pamphlets and boxes are available at customer service. Prepared boxes can also be dropped off at Safeway.
The collection deadline for the shoeboxes is Nov. 12.
Service groups and individuals looking for boxes or more information can contact Rousseau at 274-9446 or Evelyn Rawn at 274-9462.