Corrina Leween, Chief of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation drops off shoe boxes at the Burns Lake Community Church.

Church collects 599 boxes for Christmas charity bid

It was another successful year for the Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift drive.

The Burns Lake Community Church received 599 boxes of items for needy children in African and Central American countries, as Wanda Giesbrecht, coordinator of the shoe box campaign for Burns Lake and the Southside told Lakes District News.

Donors buy and put in the shoe boxes such items as school supplies, toys, toiletries and little tools like measuring tapes, pliers or hammers, according to age and gender, said John Neufeld Pastor at the Burns Lake Community Church.

“Multi-tools can be pretty precious. People are encouraged to put a ‘wow’ item in that would be bigger than the rest, like it could be a larger stuffy animal or a flattened soccer ball with a pump maybe,” Neufeld said with a laugh.

The program is aimed at children aged 2-14.

The shoe box campaign is organized by Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse and the Community Church has been participating in the drive since 2005.

“It’s been going really good. We started maybe with collecting 100. For the community the most we ever had was over 700. Some years it’s in the 500s or 600s,” Neufeld said.

The wider community has been part of the program for more than 20 years.

READ MORE: Burns Lake community makes an impact

After the hundreds of boxes leave Burns Lake they pass through a collection facility in Prince George and then onto Calgary which is the western Canadian collection centre for Samaritan’s Purse. Volunteers sort through the boxes and remove certain prohibited items like liquids, candies or toy weapons.

“[For] some kids in some countries if they got a toy gun it could traumatize them,” Neufeld said.

Each shoe box usually also contains a shipping donation of $10 because the boxes eventually go to countries in West Africa and Central and South America.

The pastor encourages donors to include a photo of themselves or their families or to write a little note along with their address.

“One lady in our church has received several responses back. They’re rare but they’re possible. There are stories that we get on DVD that come back from kids who receive them about how their lives have changed. They’re two or three minute stories.”

Neufeld estimates that over the dozen years and out of the thousands of shoe boxes handed over, the Burns Lake community has donated around $180,000 worth of goods for children in developing countries.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Community outbreak of COVID-19 confirmed on Haida Gwaii

Contact tracing has confirmed a total of 13 cases, according to Northern Health

Burns Lake couple escapes the Econo Lodge Fire in time

Escapes unharmed but loses their belongings

Travelling nuns spark social media panic in Burns Lake

The six Catholic nuns with Alberta plates were seen driving around from Prince Rupert to Burns Lake

Betty Stewart, the champion for Burns Lake’s only accessible playground

The woman who considers herself as just a coordinator while the community recognizes her efforts

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Most Read