Anna Cook shows off one of the Christmas donation displays her group is setting up around the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

Time to fill the shoe boxes for Parksville Qualicum Beach’s Operation Christmas Child

In 2013, almost 10,000 boxes were collected on Vancouver Island

While it’s still early October, local 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 shoe boxes for children in the developing world.

Parksville Qualicum Beach area volunteers hope to top last year’s contribution of 1,031 boxes to Canada’s 664,000.

In 2013, almost 10,000 were collected on Vancouver Island alone and more than 100 million were collected world wide.

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

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

Cook invites the public to their official kick off this Thursday, Oct. 9 at the Pym Fellowship Baptist Church 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to get more information and pick up an empty box to fill.

After Thursday there will be donation stations at most churches and Loonyrama Plus, Fields, The Bargain Shop, Lucky Loonies and the Nanoose Medicine Centre.

People can pick up a box to fill or just drop off items before Nov. 23.

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