Operation Christmas Child to return to Strathmore Alliance Church

·2 min read

The Strathmore Alliance Church will once again be hosting as a drop-off point for donations and shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

The program operates in several countries around the world every year and works to send shoeboxes full of supplies and toys to children in need in the developing world.

Strathmore Alliance Church acts on an annual basis as a hub for Wheatland County’s drop-offs for any who wish to donate.

“The boxes from Canada will be going to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia and Senegal for this year,” said Marianne Klassen, who represented Operation Christmas Child.

“The Strathmore Alliance Church has been involved for a long time. I can’t remember the exact number of years.”

The shoeboxes being shipped out will be filled primarily with school supplies, hygiene products and children’s toys. According to Klassen, each box can be filled for as little as $10 and is categorized by age so it reaches the correct audience.

She added there is a particular demand for feminine hygiene products such as sanitary pads for the older children supported by the program.

“Now, there’s also an online option that people can donate to. If they just go to samaritanspurse.ca they can just donate online and a lot of our seniors do that,” said Klassen.

Canada reportedly sent over 373,000 boxes out through Operation Christmas Child last year alone, with 74,000 of those being from Albertans.

With the continued impacts of COVID-19 being felt at Christmas last year, Klassen feared a dramatic reduction in donations from years past, but despite the situation, residents proved that wouldn’t be the case.

“With COVID-19 last year, we were actually thinking that donations would go down. The previous year there were 400 boxes and then last year we were somehow still able to get more than 300 boxes,” said Klassen adding that “donors are also encouraged to donate $10 along with their shoebox to pay for the shipping and handling of these boxes.”

Drop off dates will be between Nov. 15-21 during regular operating hours at the Strathmore Alliance Church.

“It’s a great way for a family to bond. When (people) pack these boxes together as a family, it’s a great way to teach their children to give and it brings you closer as a family,” said Klassen.

Though Klassen did not specify a goal or quota that would be ideal for Operation Christmas Child, she said she hopes to see as many donations as possible that residents are comfortable sending out.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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