The Christmas season may be long over, but the spirit of giving continues.
Earlier this month the Maidstone Baptist Church was contacted by a volunteer with the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child program. He had been in Chile at the end of February distributing the boxes collected from across Canada late last year and spotted a card with Christmas greetings from the church. He wanted to remember the card and snapped a picture deciding he should take a few more shots to send to the group in Canada.
The Baptist Church in Maidstone has been collecting shoe boxes for nine years. They are a drop off point for local families and groups, but also put together about 30 boxes themselves. Each year the congregation selects a specific age group and sex and spends the year collecting small toys, school supplies, toiletries, items of clothing, candy and a card with greetings from the church.
"We had a reply about five years ago from a 10-year-old girl thanking us for the box. She was very grateful and that year we replied to her letter," said Shirley Yeo of the Maidstone Baptist Church.
"This year was the first time anyone from Samaritan's Purse contacted us regarding delivery of the boxes. It was encouraging to know where they went and to see pictures of children with our boxes."
The group has already begun collecting items for the 2011 boxes buying items on sale after the holidays and whenever they can get a great deal. The boxes and a small fee to help with delivery are collected and shipped out of Maidstone every November. They are checked and processed for delivery in Calgary and are then sent out to bring smiles to children around the world.