Anna Cook shows off one of the Christmas donation displays they are setting up throughout the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

It’s time to fill those shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Organizers say they need school and hygiene products

While it seems like summer just ended, organizers are gearing up for the annual Operation Christmas Child, a project of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, in collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in the developing world.

Parksville Qualicum Beach area volunteers hope to top last year’s contribution of 1,071 boxes to Canada’s 700,000 and more than 100 million world wide.

Local coordinator Anna Cook said they’re looking for any donations, but especially school and hygiene items, toys and small gifts that will be sent to countries like Haiti, the Ukraine, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.

They are looking for all the regular school supplies like pens, pencils, erasers, note books etc. and any non-liquid hygiene items like combs, brushes and soap.

Meant for the holiday season, people could also include other fun small gifts like games or toys and some more personalized items like a note or photos. “Most of us probably can’t remember the first gift we ever received, but to these children, the shoebox they receive filled with gifts will never be forgotten,” said a news release.

Cook invites the public to their official kickoff Monday, Oct. 5, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church, 550 Pym Street, for more information and an empty shoebox to fill. There are also donation stations at most churches, elementary schools and many businesses. People can pick up a box to fill or just drop off items before Nov. 21 for their long journey.

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