Operation Christmas Child supporter helps others pack shoebox gifts for children.
It all started in 2012, when Kim Smith went on an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution trip to Nicaragua.
Kim brought along a shoebox she’d packed for a girl between the ages of 5 and 9. The big problem was figuring out who to give it to.
“We’re standing in front of this church with about 100 kids and I was told to pick a child to receive my shoebox. I thought, ‘I can’t do that; my heart goes out to all of these children,’ she said, struggling to hold back tears at the vivid memory.
After praying about it, the Orleans, ON resident, then 46, scanned the crowd and saw a little girl smiling at her. She noticed and kept scanning, but had the feeling someone was staring at her. So she looked again at the young girl—seven-year-old Katy—and once again made eye contact.
Believing this was God’s direction, Kim sat down with Katy and gave her the box. As the youngster looked through the contents—Kim still remembers exactly what she put in the box—Katy had a ‘wow!’ reaction to the Barbie doll, coloring book and crayons, T-shirt, skipping rope, toothbrush, soap, face cloth, notebook, pens, pencils and a sharpener, ruler and eraser.
Using the few Spanish phrases she’d learned before the trip, Kim asked Katy her name, then told her God loves her and she was special.
“Katy’s eyes just brightened up when she heard I said that,” Kim recalled happily.
As she met so many children in need and saw how Canadian-packed shoeboxes brought joy to them and their families, Kim sensed something changing in her.
“I came back and I felt God was calling me to do something more for Him,” she said, becoming emotional again at the power of the memory.
Kim describes herself as “a quiet, behind-the-scenes person,” but when she heard of a friend who was helping people pack boxes for children in need, she felt called to do the same.
She convinced Gillian Hill, a friend and fellow fan of what God is doing through Operation Christmas Child, to join her. Together, they have worked through their church—Redeemer Alliance—to help people pack more than 700 gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need.
You might be wondering how Kim fits this year-round initiative into her life and full-time job at an insurance brokerage. “From now to November, my job and Operation Christmas Child kind-of get put together,” she said. “My boss is also my brother-in-law; he attends church and knows about the great work done by this ministry.”
In the end, bringing hope and joy to children in need “is a worthwhile cause that’s needed. It makes you feel good doing something for someone else. And the children learn they are loved by Jesus and by people who don’t know them.”