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Community packing party promotes awareness of children in need


VALLEY – Rows of crayons, pencils and notepads line two tables.

Canadian teddy bears and Bible stories are among other piles of seemingly simple goodies.

As Robin Mack gazes over the items to be donated to needy children oversees, she vividly remembers going to Haiti to help deliver Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes filled with items for young children who have next to nothing.

“I’ve seen the Haiti slum area. They have a cave-like church and it stunk. The kids were so grimy. They opened the shoe boxes and they screamed and screamed for about five minutes. About 100 kids plastered us with kisses … it was the only time on that trip I saw that level of excitement,” recalled Mack.

The shoe boxes are traditionally collected in November and rely on the community to fill them with items such as school supplies, particularly pencils and erasers; hygiene products; hard individually wrapped candy; toys, and even personalized notes or photos.

Last year, about 1,500 boxes were donated from Colchester County. This year, one of the drop-off sites, Crossroads Baptist Church in Valley, is taking a different approach by initiating the project earlier and organizing a packing party. The hope is people will drop into the Bible Hill fire hall on Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to assist with the packing of shoe boxes and perhaps bring donations of items as well. An information table and refreshments will be available as well.

Currently, the church has donated items that are estimated to fill upwards of 500 boxes with mostly school supplies. That may seem like a lot, but at least double that amount is hoped for because the need is so great, said Crossroads member Terry Whidden, who has participated in the program for 11 years.

Whidden said it’s never too early to begin gathering items. Not only are there sales on now for back-to-school but it’s a matter of spreading awareness.

“We should be thinking about these kids more than one day of the year … and still after all these years some people say they don’t know what (Operation Christmas Child) is,” said Whidden, who recalled a distribution trip to Uruguay he was part of.  “About 25 kids jumped into my arms when we gave out boxes. To see that level of poverty … one child didn’t even have a name.”

Mack, who has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since the late 1990s, said it’s important to care for people even though they are overseas.

“Yes, there is need here but our government has programs and supports for people but other places don’t have that assistance,” she said.

For more information, or to help with the packing party, call Whidden at 902-895-8483 after 4 p.m. or leave a message or email him at heatherwhidden@hotmail.com. Mack can be reached at 902-895-2680 or the5macks@hotmail.com

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

Did you know?:

What: Operation Christmas Child

Under the direction of: Samaritans Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid around the world since 1970.

Destination countries this year: Costa Rica, Guinea, Haiti, Nicaragua, Chile and Senegal

For more information, including multiple drop-off sites in Colchester County this fall: Call 1-800-303-1269 or log onto www.SamaritansPurse.ca/occ

Note: A donation of $7 to help with shipping fees is requested with each shoe box.

 

Canadian teddy bears and Bible stories are among other piles of seemingly simple goodies.

As Robin Mack gazes over the items to be donated to needy children oversees, she vividly remembers going to Haiti to help deliver Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes filled with items for young children who have next to nothing.

“I’ve seen the Haiti slum area. They have a cave-like church and it stunk. The kids were so grimy. They opened the shoe boxes and they screamed and screamed for about five minutes. About 100 kids plastered us with kisses … it was the only time on that trip I saw that level of excitement,” recalled Mack.

The shoe boxes are traditionally collected in November and rely on the community to fill them with items such as school supplies, particularly pencils and erasers; hygiene products; hard individually wrapped candy; toys, and even personalized notes or photos.

Last year, about 1,500 boxes were donated from Colchester County. This year, one of the drop-off sites, Crossroads Baptist Church in Valley, is taking a different approach by initiating the project earlier and organizing a packing party. The hope is people will drop into the Bible Hill fire hall on Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to assist with the packing of shoe boxes and perhaps bring donations of items as well. An information table and refreshments will be available as well.

Currently, the church has donated items that are estimated to fill upwards of 500 boxes with mostly school supplies. That may seem like a lot, but at least double that amount is hoped for because the need is so great, said Crossroads member Terry Whidden, who has participated in the program for 11 years.

Whidden said it’s never too early to begin gathering items. Not only are there sales on now for back-to-school but it’s a matter of spreading awareness.

“We should be thinking about these kids more than one day of the year … and still after all these years some people say they don’t know what (Operation Christmas Child) is,” said Whidden, who recalled a distribution trip to Uruguay he was part of.  “About 25 kids jumped into my arms when we gave out boxes. To see that level of poverty … one child didn’t even have a name.”

Mack, who has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since the late 1990s, said it’s important to care for people even though they are overseas.

“Yes, there is need here but our government has programs and supports for people but other places don’t have that assistance,” she said.

For more information, or to help with the packing party, call Whidden at 902-895-8483 after 4 p.m. or leave a message or email him at heatherwhidden@hotmail.com. Mack can be reached at 902-895-2680 or the5macks@hotmail.com

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

Did you know?:

What: Operation Christmas Child

Under the direction of: Samaritans Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid around the world since 1970.

Destination countries this year: Costa Rica, Guinea, Haiti, Nicaragua, Chile and Senegal

For more information, including multiple drop-off sites in Colchester County this fall: Call 1-800-303-1269 or log onto www.SamaritansPurse.ca/occ

Note: A donation of $7 to help with shipping fees is requested with each shoe box.

 

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