Operation Christmas Child
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CANADA
We have been extremely fortunate to find an organization that was willing to ship our teddies, donated by our volunteers, all over the world – without cost to us.
On several occasions I had the opportunity to visit the Distribution Center in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It was an enlightening experience.
In 2003 I happened to visit when the City’s Mayor was encouraging and thanking the volunteers for their efforts to process the shoeboxes to be shipped overseas to those who are not as fortunate as we are.
I took some pictures of the set up and was amazed at the efficient way these boxes were processed. Each box is labeled with the age and gender of a child and is filled with appropriate ‘goodies’ for the recipients to enjoy. Schools, church groups, guilds and individuals receive the shoeboxes to be filled with items appropriate for each child.
Once returned to the pick-up centers, these boxes are delivered to the Distribution Center – by the thousands! It takes several weeks to make sure each box is filled with items that children all over the world would enjoy – and until supplies last, each box gets one of our teddies.
During my 2008 visit to the Distribution Center the pictures I took speak volumes of the work their volunteers do.
Several famous corporations donate their products to be included in these boxes, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, crayons, coloring books, storybooks, and toys, lots of toys.
The volunteers add these items to the boxes that were received and are re-packaged into larger boxes that look the same from the outside. Sometimes several hundred of the boxes are delivered to a community to be distributed to the children – therefore they look the same but each is designated for appropriate age and gender of the child.
Once the boxes are filled they are put into large brown boxes with the correct labels and they are put on a pallet and shrink-wrapped ready for shipment by truck or air. No one really knows where each of these boxes will ‘land’ and who the recipients will be.
When a disaster occurs, Samaritan’s Purse, who manages Operation Christmas Child, is one of the first organizations on the scene, after the rescue and medical staff are in place.
The first people to suffer after a disaster are the children. The adults have other worries but the children feel the most pain.
When the shoeboxes are distributed to the children – they realize that somewhere in the world others are thinking of them and try to make their suffering less by presenting to them items that they could use and also to have fun with, like the knitted teddies we sent them.
Please have a look at our photo gallery where several pictures are shown of the children receiving their teddies. The expression on their faces is all we need to know that our teddies are going to be loved and that, in a small way, we did make a difference.
Those smiles are all the ‘thank you’ we need to continue with our program of collecting teddies from our wonderful volunteers.
Since we never know where and when another disaster will occur, we need an endless supply of teddies. We encourage everyone to knit or crochet a teddy or sew a few bags. We appreciate each and every item we receive and forward to the children.
A very special “thank you” is given to Eleanor and Paul Ross, Managers of the Kitchener, Ontario, Distribution Center for their continuous support of our efforts in supplying teddies for the Operation Christmas Child program. Without them our teddies would not be delivered where they are needed the most – at the time they are needed the most.
We hope to continue our efforts to collect and supply knitted teddy bears as long as there are wonderful volunteers who make them and send them to us.
Our ‘Thank you’ goes to everyone involved with our teddies.
Gisele M. Toth.
Operation Christmas Child is one of many projects of The Samaritan’s Purse organization that shares God’s love in a tangible way
Samaritan's Purse is a non-profit, Christian organization providing emergency relief and development assistance to suffering people around the world. Samaritan's Purse is meeting the physical needs of victims of war, famine, natural disaster, poverty and disease with the aim of demonstrating God's love and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The aid and assistance are given without regard to the race, creed, gender, religion or ethnicity of the beneficiaries.
Information of how to get involved with the shoebox program and to find a local drop off center please visit their website at:
USA Regional Representatives For OCC
Samaritan's Purse Canada
Samaritan's Purse United Kingdom
Samaritan's Purse Australia
Samaritan's Purse Ireland
Samaritan's Purse Germany
Samaritan's Purse Hong Kong
Please check their websites for shoebox drop-off centers which are available after September of each year.
You may wish to contact us or just mail your teddy donations to our mailing address in Toronto
Thank you for thinking of less fortunate children and getting involved with donating your time and or “goodies” for the shoeboxes.