Changes coming for Operation Christmas Child (September 21, 2015)

Written by Jason Kerr

Published by Prince Albert Daily Herald on Monday, September 21, 2015

Organizations and businesses around Prince Albert are already preparing for Operation Christmas Child, but this year’s charity drive will see a few changes.

Every year, residents from across Canada pick up free Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from local businesses or organizations. The shoeboxes are filled with gifts before being sent to a collection centre in Calgary and distributed to children in impoverished countries around the world.

However, this year Samaritan’s Pursue is encouraging potential donors to order their shoeboxes online, and then drop them off at local collection centres after they’ve been filled.

The move is designed to make the process cheaper more efficient.

“In their bigger picture they’ve looked at partnering with folks like Canada Post or UPS and found that their costs will be actually reduced, and it will be a more efficient way to get the boxes out to people,” said Lyle Karasiuk, Parkland Ambulance’s director of public affairs.

For years, Parkland Ambulance has served as one of the pick-up and drop-off points for Operation Christmas Child. Karasiuk said they typically request roughly 1,500 shoeboxes for each holiday season, and with so many people already online it makes more sense for people to simply get it over the Internet.

“A click of a button is easy and it shows up at their door, so the other added convenience is they don’t have to add an extra stop to come pick up the container.”

Karasiuk said the new system will also help people who can only pick up boxes at specific times, like late in the evening or on weekends.

Residents will still drop their shoeboxes full of gifts like they used to. It’s just ordering online that will be different.

“There are so many ways that we get involved in the local community and the provincial community, but this is a way for us to say, ‘in some small way I’ve put a smile on the face of a child in the developing world.’”

Prince Albert residents who would like to order a shoebox can do so at Residents can also make financial donations on the website to help the organization fill other shoeboxes or pay shipping costs.

Click here to learn more about Samaritan's Purse.

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