Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is coming to Swift Current through the Trailview Alliance church, with hopes of bringing joy to less fortunate children across the globe.
OCC is a charitable organization dedicated to helping kids get gifts on Christmas, which is performed by communities in North America coming together to donate presents.
Dean Kern, a drop-off team lead for the Swift Current area, has been packing shoeboxes through his church for over 10 years.
“We've only been with Operation Christmas Child for about a month since we heard about it in early September, and we went through the process to become involved with OCC at the beginning of October,” Kern explained. “In the past, we've been involved with packing shoeboxes, and we just saw what joy it brings to the kids, knowing they're sending the boxes away to bring some hope to kids in other parts of the world. It's kind of a no-brainer for us.”
Kern stated that about 2,500 boxes were packed and sent away to the Swift Current collection site, and he hopes to at least equal that number, and possibly go beyond. According to Kern, Saskatchewan had just over 19,000 boxes sent away last year, and that number has been increasing.
Over 170 countries have received shoeboxes in the last 30 years, but recent donations have been directed to Ukraine, the Philippines, Costa Rica, and multiple nations in the Middle East.
“I think as they learn about where the boxes are going, they realize how much we have in Canada as far as material possessions,” expressed Kern. “They know that they're going somewhere where the kids have nothing...They write some notes in there for the kids and tell them where they're from, and that's kind of exciting that they can get notes back from halfway around the world.”
For those looking to participate, there will be boxes to take at the Swift Current Mall along with various churches and other organizations. The collection site is a new location for 2023, situated at Trailview Alliance Church, 298 Battleford Trail.
The days for collection are for the week of Nov 13-18, with varying hours listed below.
Mon-Wed: 1- 5 p.m.
Thurs: 4-8 p.m.
Fri: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
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