Operation Christmas Child (OCC) was the focus of Dryden Rotary’s speaker Sharon Allan-Riives at its virtual meeting this past week. Allan-Riives is the lead person in the Dryden area for this annual gifting program. 
Christmas Child program collects gift-filled shoeboxes from donors and distributes them to struggling kids in the developing world. The program has brought joy and a message of hope to over 135 million children so far. 
The program began in the summer of 1993 when Franklin Graham received a call asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war torn Bosnia.  Franklin asked his friend the late Pastor Ross Rhoads of Calvary Church of Charlotte, USA to see if he could help with the need. A Sunday shortly afterward, Rhoads demonstrated for his congregation how to fill a shoebox with simple gifts and encouraged them to include a letter to the child as well. Within weeks, the church had 11,000 shoeboxes lining their hallways. Due to their generosity and with additional shoeboxes from Canada, 28,000 Operational Christmas Child shoebox gifts were sent children in the Balkans that Christmas. 
Allan-Riives said she became involved after she went to Ecuador and saw people and homes of people located in a dump on the outskirts of a Quito. This motivated her to become a member Operation Christmas Child. At the time Sharon lived alone in London, Ontario and did 1500 shoe boxes. Since moving to Dryden, she and her husband set their goal at 150 a year, however, she has now been selected to be part of a distribution team that delivers boxes to Guatemala.
The Operation Christmas Child Process 
  • Find a Shoebox - Start with an average-size cardboard shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately. 
  • Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. 
  • Select a quality “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, or stuffed animal. Then add other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. 
For more details, visit HERE