Local residents will have until Sunday to drop off any shoe boxes they have packed for children in need as part of the annual Operation Christmas Child campaign.

Frank King, News and Media Relations Manager with Samaritans Purse Canada provides details on the annual campaign.

"Generous Canadians pack shoe boxes full of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items and they drop them off at hundreds of locations across the country."

This weekend will see the end of national collection week. After the boxes are dropped off they are shipped to the processing center in Calgary where they are inspected and then they are shipped. Boxes will be sent to various countries in Central America and West Africa and new this year, boxes will also be sent to the Philippines and Ukraine. 

King shares some insight into the benefits of this program. 

"When they get these shoe boxes full of these school supplies and hygiene items and toys from people, they have never met in a country they may have never heard of, it's a powerful symbol of hope and joy and it also tells them there are people who know about them, and they are not forgotten."

In addition, with regards to school supplies in particular, King says that even in countries where the education system is free, quite often parents still have to provide the school supplies and for that reason alone some children may not go to school because their parents can't afford it.

The Operation Christmas Child campaign is also an excellent opportunity for Canadian parents to teach children that Christmas isn't just about you getting presents says, King. It's about being generous with kids who may never get presents.

Locally, residents can pick up and drop off their shoe boxes at the Swift Current Mall from 9 am until 9 pm on Saturday or Sunday from 1 pm until 3 pm. Alternatively, for those who wish to visit here can pack a box online. 

Last year alone Swift Current residents packed 2,618 boxes, with 21,631 being packed throughout the province. 

For more details on the Operation Christmas Child campaign and items to pack and avoid packing in the shoe boxes visit here