The residents of Grenfell have packaged, parcelled and sent seasons greetings to the world’s less fortunate.
Five Grenfell churches participated in the 2011 Operation Christmas Child project, contributing 120 gift boxes to children living in poverty-stricken Haiti.
Operation Christmas Child is a non-profit project adopted by Christian organization, Samaritan’s Purse.
The Operation began in 1990 by a Welshman by the name of Dave Cooke, who was motivated to deliver gifts to Romanian orphans after seeing their living conditions on television.
Operation Christmas Child has since become an international endeavour, collecting and distributing over 86 million shoe box gifts.
“The shoeboxes are distributed to children who are living in circumstances of war, poverty and natural disaster in countries around the world,” said Carla Bregani, communications advisor with Operation Christmas Child. “Where we’re culturally allowed to, we share the story of Jesus and God’s love with these children. Our motivation lies in translating that God gave us the unconditional gift of His love and now we’re giving these children a physical unconditional gift and sharing the story of Jesus with them.”
In 2010, Saskatchewan residents collected and contributed 31, 534 shoeboxes to the Operation. Last year, Canada collected and distributed a total of 640,714 shoeboxes
The gift shoeboxes are delivered to children ranging from two years old to 14. Each box is filled with gifts that include a personal sender’s note and photo, hygiene items, schools supplies, toys and candy.
For many children, receiving a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child opens them, their families and their communities to opportunities for additional assistance from Samaritan’s Purse in the form of water filters, feeding programs and medical care.