OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD, FROM ALTONA TO ASIA-PACIFIC
Every year churches and schools in the communities of Hobsons Bay and Wyndham partner with Samaritan’s Purse. Their joint purpose is to fill thousands of shoeboxes for children living in war-torn or high crisis areas in the Asia-Pacific Region. In 2013, 316,323 shoeboxes were sent from Australia and New Zealand to Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. 1,700 shoeboxes alone were collected from Margaret Gook’s home address in Werribee. She’s not sure how many there’ll be this year but Margaret, the local area coordinator for West Melbourne, doesn’t mind; she’s passionate about this outreach. But in that, she’s not alone. Wanda and Louis Fourie from Point Cook recently had a packing party where friends and work colleagues came together to help pack their 350 shoeboxes. “It looked like a children’s party,” Wanda recalls, stating their initial target for 2014 was 300 boxes. They’d purchased items at sales throughout the year and happened to squirrel away enough gifts to bless 350 children. They even made their own blackboards, which is a basic item but great for children with no access to paper.
Margaret explains that when filling our shoeboxes we need to think about where the boxes are going and to be sensitive to the children and cultures within the regions. Warrelated toys are inappropriate and clothing with printed skulls can be offensive. But family photos or hand-written letters create that special, personal touch. Some shoeboxes are “…carried for miles to the remotest parts of the world,” but that’s what Margaret likes about Operation Christmas child. “It’s guaranteed that contributions will go to a child,” she says. In fact, contributors can track their gift by registering on the website to follow their box. If you’re interested in contributing, either contact Margaret Gook on 9742 3647 or pick up a shoebox from one of the following drop off points: Seabrook Primary School, Point Cook Baptist Church, Altona Meadows Uniting Church, Altona Baptist Church, and St Eanswythe’s Anglican Church. Shoeboxes need to be filled and returned by October when the national collection will take place. For further information please go to the website: http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.au
Community Newspaper Issue 76, September 2014