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Local church collecting for Operation Christmas Child

People wanting to give back this holiday season can do so by packing a shoebox. The Grande Prairie Alliance church will soon be collecting boxes full of gifts for Operation Christmas Child.

The program has been going on in Grande Prairie for 10 years and Coordinator Krista Dodd says it was designed to bring children in other countries a little happiness at Christmas.

“We have so much here in North America and other countries around the world where we can give toys and toothbrushes to kids who have nothing. It was just started as a way to show love to kids.”

Operation Christmas Child was first started in 1990 by Samaritans Purse, a group based in Calgary that offers aid to people in third world countries. Last year in Grande Prairie, Dodd says they collected around 5400 boxes. She says items children want the most include winter hats and mittens, stuffed animals and small toiletries.

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“About three years ago I got to go on a trip to Nicaragua to deliver shoeboxes and what I saw the kids most excited about was tooth brushes and toques things that our kids would take for granted as a Christmas present but things they don’t have access to in third world countries.”

Shoeboxes can be dropped off the Alliance Church from November 12-18. The boxes are then distributed to children in over 100 countries around the world.

To find out more about what can and can’t be packed in the boxes, visit the Samaritans Purse website.

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