The annual Shoebox of Hope Campaign is kicking off in Timmins tomorrow. Fill an empty shoebox with gifts for children, which will then be sent off to countries that have been hit with environmental disasters or wars. Coordinator for this year’s campaign, Peggy Bendell, says filling the shoeboxes with school supplies could mean the difference between getting an education for some kids.

She says pencils, crayons, pencil sharpeners, and paper are all useful because that is their admittance into school. Bendell says if they don’t have a pencil and paper, they can’t go to school. Bendell says they also need supplies for boys aged 10-14, like a mini tool-kit from Canadian Tire so they can learn a trade.

The campaign kick-off runs from 10am until 2pm at the Harmony House in the Porcupine Mall tomorrow. You can pick up an empty shoebox at any of these places around town:

Timmins Square: Buck or Two Customer Service Desk
Staples
Jorie’s Fine Clothing
Schumacher Post Office
South Porcupine Post Office
Harmony House
Porcupine Mall Post Office

The boxes collected in Ontario this year will go to kids in Costa Rica, Chile, Guinea, and Senegal. Pick an age category and a gender for items to fill your box with. The age categories are 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Items to fill the shoebox with:

School Supplies – Items such as pencils, pens, pencil crayons, note pads, and picture books
Toys & Other Gifts – Items such as stuffed animals, small musical instruments, hair clips, costume jewellery, t-shirts, socks, NO CANDY or food of any kind
Hygiene Items – Please place soap in a sealable bag
Personal Note – Include a personal note and/or a photo in your shoebox

The campaign also asks you include an envelope with $7 to pay for shipping if possible.

Do not fill the box with:

Toothpaste (due to customs regulations)
Food and any candy: Including gum (due to customs regulations)
Used items (due to customs regulations)
Playing cards (other card games such as UNO are allowed)
Liquids or items that could leak, melt, freeze, or break – Shampoo, creams, lip balm, bath gels, mirrors, or glass, etc. (these can damage other items in the shoe box).
Items that can scare or harm a child – War-related toys, knives, and toy guns, etc.
Using a backpack instead of a shoe box is problematic because it creates unfair circumstances at distribution events. Backpacks can also cause problems when cartons are being packed, and when shipments are going through Customs.

More details about the campaign are online at http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/operation-christmas-child/ and http://www.boursedusamaritain.ca/

Or contact Peggy Bendell at 705 235 5121.