A group of volunteers at the Kingston Gospel Temple started packing Christmas gift boxes bright and early Monday morning. The boxes were donated by local community members and will be sent to less fortunate children overseas.
“It really gets everyone in the Christmas spirit. They love doing it,” says Sandy Maynard, co-ordinator for the Kingston chapter of Operation Christmas Child.
The campaign is part of a larger Canadian charity known as Samaritan’s Purse. The organization collects hygiene products, school supplies and toys for children in need overseas.
The kids that receive these gift boxes are living in war zones, orphanages or very poor conditions.
“This is probably their only gift that they’ve received in their life, which is really hard to imagine but it’s true,” said Maynard.
Residents can pick up an empty shoebox from participating stores in the city and fill it with either school supplies, toys or basic hygiene items. Once the box is filled, it can then be dropped off at either Kingston Gospel Temple or End of the Roll, a local store on Gardiners Road.
The boxes being packed up at the Kingston Gospel Temple will be donated to kids in Central America, West Africa and parts of Europe.
“We would all love to see the children’s faces but we do know some people who’ve received the shoeboxes as well. Its just amazing to watch the responses,” said Maynard.
Operation Christmas Child kicked off on Monday and will continue till Saturday. The team is looking for volunteers to help pack shoeboxes during the day this week. They will also accept any shoebox donations until Saturday.