Operation Christmas Child marking 20th anniversary

November 3, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike pickford

It’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference and area resident Carolyn Martin is hoping to prove just that this festive period, continuing a 20-year Christmas tradition in Orangeville.

Since 1997 Operation Christmas Child has inspired thousands of local residents to dip into their pockets and put together a yuletide package for underprivileged children living in various impoverished nations across the globe. This year, kids in Chile, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia and Ivory Coast will benefit from area residents’ generosity.

“Operation Christmas Child is a truly special organization,” Ms. Martin said. “I’ve been involved personally in Orangeville since 2001. I’ve had the opportunity to witness several incredible stories first hand. I have a real love for this program and what it does for thousands of people around the world.”

The general idea surrounding the initiative is to pack as many little toys and gifts as you can into a shoebox for distribution overseas. Carolyn says she’s seen everything from dolls to toy cars, toothbrushes, soaps and various school supplies packaged up before now. Whether the items are bought or homemade, they’re appreciated all the same by exciting children upon arrival.

There are some restrictions in place. Food items are not allowed, candy included. No liquids can be sent, nor can toothpaste.

Last year, Operation Christmas Child received 1,851 shoeboxes over the course of four days in Orangeville, taking the overall total in 20 years to close to 30,000. Carolyn says she’s hoping to see a big push from the community once again this time  in what is a special anniversary year for the Orangeville group.

“We have so many fantastic donors who help us out year after year. Local churches, schools, service groups, businesses and just residents in general. The generosity on display in this community is fantastic, hopefully we can harness some of that again over the next couple of weeks and see another big response,” Ms. Martin said.

Drop-offs will take place at The Salvation Army New Hope Community Church on Riddell Road in Orangeville on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon. Shoeboxes will then be transported to a central distribution hub in Guelph before being delivered overseas in time for Christmas.

“People can spend as much or as little as they want. The important thing is to make sure these kids know that somebody somewhere cares about them,” Carolyn said. “I was in Chile one year for a drop-off and the reactions are incredible. Just so thankful. I think it’s important to give back a little bit, especially over the Christmas period. I’m looking forward to seeing how well we do in Orangeville again this year.”

For more information, or to fill up a shoebox online, visit

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