Still time to fill up Christmas shoeboxes

Heather Latter

There only are a few days left for those wanting to participate in “Operation Christmas Child” this year.
Run by Samaritan’s Purse, the project allows people to provide gift-filled boxes to children in need.
“The shoeboxes go to children overseas and to countries where there is war, famine, or natural disaster,” explained Della McQuaker, the new co-ordinator for the program locally this year.
“And the boxes are filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies,” she noted.
“Some of these children have never received a gift and don’t have, say, a toothbrush of their own, so it’s a big deal for them,” McQuaker added.
Bethel Baptist Church, with McQuaker at the head, took over “Operation Christmas Child” here after Canada Safeway opted to focus on more local charities.
“My son and I have been sending out shoeboxes every year for about five years, and it’s just been wonderful for him and I to do it together,” McQuaker enthused.
“Every year when it’s over, I always wished there was more I could do for these children overseas.
“So when this position came up through my church, I was very eager to take it on,” she said.
With no direction on how many to order, McQuaker ordered 600 shoeboxes for Rainy River District.
“I didn’t want to over-order and I didn’t want to under-order,” she explained. “So I just based it on my own enthusiasm for it and what I thought the enthusiasm might be.”
She noted there’s definitely interest in the project here.
“I’m very happy with how it’s going . . . we’ve given just about all 600 of them away,” McQuaker remarked, adding she’s also been getting calls nearly every day from someone wondering where to drop off the boxes and where to put their monetary donations.
But she said there still are some shoeboxes available for anyone wanting to participate.
McQuaker explained the project helps children in need, as well as communities.
“Through the gift of the shoeboxes, Samaritan’s Purse is able to help the communities, not only sharing the Gospel, but also doing various projects like getting communities water,” she noted.
“It’s more than just a gift at Christmas,” she stressed.
The shoeboxes, which will be collected at the end of next week, can be dropped off at the following locations from Nov. 16-20: the Bargain Shop, Northland Basics, and Bethel Baptist Church (which will be open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. that week) in Fort Frances, as well as Tompkins Hardware and the Calvary Baptist Church in Emo.
For more information, call McQuaker at 486-3595.