© Nathan Liewicki
Kayli Peakman and Grayson Huber (left to right), Grade 8 students at St. Michael School, fill a couple of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Tearing off bows and ripping through wrapping paper to get to Christmas presents is a thrilling feeling.
The smiles that flash across the faces of children who receive the latest toys and flashy clothing item are especially humbling for those who give the presents.
Unfortunately, not every child has the opportunity to smile or express their gratitude during the holiday season. That is because not every child receives a Christmas present.
Fortunately, Operation Christmas Child does its best to make sure less fortunate children in other parts of the world receive a shoebox and have a chance to smile. And St. Michael School is helping continue that tradition.
“I think we have about 75 (shoeboxes) out at this time, and hopefully we can go and get more,” said principal Shannon Pearce.
He added that not only are the students collecting items like school supplies, toys, hygiene products, a personal note and $7 to cover shipping costs in the shoeboxes, but people in the community are welcome to swing by the school and grab one to fill.
Items in the shoeboxes can be for either boys or girls, and in age categories: two to four, five to nine, or 10-14.
Pearce noted that the deadline for all shoeboxes to be turned into St. Michael is Nov. 15. It’s an early deadline because it takes times to transport so many boxes to varying parts of the globe.
“I think just giving back to the community and teaching students to help the unfortunate is important,” stated Pearce. “That's part of our mandate or part of our religion classes.”
Since Operation Christmas Child was adopted by Samaritan’s Purse – a Christian organization run by evangelist Franklin Graham – in 1993, over 100 million shoeboxes have been collected and distributed worldwide.
In 2012, Canadians donated 662,000 shoeboxes for hurting and less fortunate children in parts of the globe. This year the shoeboxes will be distributed in places that include Paraguay, El Salvador, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks