The annual Operation Christmas Child Campaign is now in full swing.

This campaign asks you to fill an empty show box with small gifts that will be sent to kids in countries hit by major environmental disasters or wars.¬† Local Coordinator Peggy Bendell says a lot of the kids receiving these boxes have been through some trauma and see nothing but fights and murder. “It tells them that somebody somewhere cares about them. And when they go in with the boxes they bring in water filters and medical supplies.”

Bendell says she has been coordinating this campaign in Northern Ontario since 1995. She says when she heard about it she thought “this is something no matter what your race is, or nationality, religion or whatever, it’s something you can do and that’s why it caught on.”

Bendell says to get started you can use one of your shoeboxes, or pick up an Operation Christmas Child one at:

  • Timmins Square (customer service desk)
  • Staples
  • Jorie’s Fine Clothing
  • Main Post Office: 2nd Avenue
  • Schumacher Post Office: Father Costello Road
  • South Porcupine Post Office: Main Street
  • Porcupine Post Office: King Street

She says then you pick whether you are filling a box for a boy or girl in one of the following age categories:

  • 2 to 4-years-old
  • 5 to 9-years-old
  • 10 to 14-years old

You can fill the box with items like:

  • School Supplies – pens, pencils, notepads, picture books, ect.
  • Toys and other gifts – stuffed animals, small instruments, hair clips, jewellery, socks
  • Hygiene¬†Items – soap in sealable bags
  • Personal Note

You are not allowed to include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Food and any candy
  • Used items
  • Playing cards (other card games like UNO are allowed)
  • Liquids or items that can leak, melt, freeze or break – shampoo, cream, lip balm, bath gels, mirrors or glass
  • Things that can scare or harm a child – war-related toys like knives and toy guns
  • Backpacks instead of a shoe box

Most of this is because of customs regulations.

Bendell says once you filled your box, you can bring it and a possible $10 donation to cover shipping costs to any of the pickup locations, other than the Porcupine Post Office.

Bendell says last year Timmins put together 1,325 boxes, bringing its total since 1995 to over 40,000.

The deadline to put together a box for this year is November 17th.