Group of Alberta cops spend their vacation distributing shoeboxes in Costa Rica (June 15, 2014)

Written by Ryan White

Published by CTV News on Sunday, June 15, 2014

Members of the Calgary Police Service and Edmonton Police Service have joined forces to help children in Central America.

The officers are in Costa Rica assisting the Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child with the distribution of shoeboxes of donated stationery supplies, toiletries and small toys, to young people.

The members of the group consider themselves to be on a ‘working holiday’. The crew raised the funds for the trip and their visit was scheduled for a time when they are on vacation from the force.

In addition to their time working with Operation Christmas Child, the officers are helping local law enforcement agencies modernize ramshackle police stations.

“We saw that on Monday when we helped to make some improvements to a local police station with beds and concrete and painting,” said CPS Cst. Gary Woods. “The place really was run down and this is where police officers were working from.”

Officers in Costa Rica face overwhelming challenges with the rampant drug trade and child exploitation.

“They are fighting that battle as well, on a much larger scale than we are in Canada, with much less resources,” said Woods.

Cst. Woods says the Canadians officers have been humbled by their experiences in Costa Rica and the group plans to continue with the project in 2015.

For more information and to make a donation, visit the Samaritan’s Purse website.

Read more: