An estimated 5,000 shoeboxes are expected to be filled in the Central Okanagan over the next week during Operation Christmas Child.
The Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church is behind the local effort, with shoeboxes full of small presents for children being collected before being sent to Calgary for shipment around the world.
“Operation Christmas Child has been going on for nearly 25 years,” said Pastor Mike Penninga. “We are partnering with (Samaritan’s Purse) because we like the tangible connection between someone in Kelowna giving to a child in another part of the world.”
Penninga said anyone can fill a shoebox and drop it off at the church, 3714 Gordon Drive, during collection hours this week.
Collection hours include:
- Nov. 14-17, 11 a.m.-4 p.m;
- Nov. 18, 12 p.m.-4 p.m;
- Nov. 19, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Gifts can include small toys, personal hygiene items, school supplies, a personal note but no sweets.
“They don’t want candy or anything that can melt or leak. Also nothing that is war related.”
A total of 664,525 gift-filled shoeboxes were collected in Canada in 2016. Around the world, 100 countries took part last year, with more than 11 million boxes collected.
“Truly this is the work of individuals,” said Penninga. “Thirty-two boxes have just come in from Kelowna General Hospital. And a young couple in our church are packing 130 shoe boxes.”
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