Successful Operation

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November 26, 2015 12:53 PM

Ken Hastings, volunteer coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, packs up shoeboxes at the Lloydminster collection centre on Nov. 20. Each shoebox is filled with items for less fortunate children around the world and will be given to them on Christmas. This year 3,915 boxes were filled in the Lloydminster area, beating last year's number of 3,624.

Operation Christmas Child saw another successful run in the Lloydminster area this year despite the ongoing downturn in the economy.
Volunteers weren’t too sure how this year’s operation would fare, but according to local coordinator Ken Hastings, it fared well.
“It’s been exciting. There are a number of schools and organizations that their numbers have actually increased substantially from last year, and there are other ones that the numbers are down, but the important things is every shoebox is important,” said Hastings.
Operation Christmas Child encourages people to pick up a shoebox from participating locations and fill them with gifts for less fortunate children around the world.
Some favoured shoebox items include toy cars, school supplies and non-liquid hygiene items like toothbrushes, bar soap, washcloths and combs.
The usual target each year is anything more than 3,000 shoeboxes, with last year reaching around the 3,300 mark.
As of press time, Hastings tallied up the numbers and said it came out to 3915 boxes, beating last year’s number of 3624 said they were inching toward 3,000, with more still being counted, and considering this year’s economic conditions, he considers that a definite success.
Community reception has also remained good this time around with a new local store making shoeboxes available, and the company B&R Eckels offering a trailer with free transportation from Lloydminster to the western collection centre in Calgary.
“Very successful. I just happened to be at two schools today, picking up the last shoeboxes, and it’s still exciting going in,” Hastings said.
“Hearing the excitement in the children that have filled the shoeboxes saying, ‘We put in a toothbrush, or we put in a stuffed animal.’
“When I hear the local kids celebrating, it’s a success.”
The toys will soon be distributed from the western collection centre in Calgary to Central and South America as well as countries in Africa.
Hastings said he wants to give a sincere thanks to all the volunteers who promoted the operation in their churches, schools and businesses and also to the individuals and families who filled the shoeboxes.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of a terrific team of volunteers and supporters and again my sincere thanks to everyone who took part.”

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