Published by Thepost.on.ca on Thursday, July 18, 2013
HANOVER—A trip to Africa was initially inconceivable for a local Hanover woman, but when an opportunity arose to join a team delivering Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts in Senegal, Anne Hahn signed on. There were 19 people on the Canadian team, including folks from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Operation Christmas Child, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that accepts shoe boxes packed for needy children and ships them to receiving countries. The shoe box gifts for the African trip were shipped from the Kitchener Waterloo Distribution Centre, with gifts originating from Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario.
The team attended nine distributions around Dakar and M’Bour Senegal, and many of those events were held at local schools.
“In the Senegalese schools that we visited, there were no pencils, no pens, and no books. In one primary classroom we were relieved to see benches, and thought the children would have a place to sit. But those were the desks, and the kids knelt in the sand. The teacher told us that during a sand storm you cannot see the person beside you in this classroom,” said Hahn, who volunteers as the Logistics Coordinator here in Hanover for OCC. Many children do not have the means to attend school.
The children had never received gifts before and were incredulous that the entire shoe box was for them alone. They were often directed not to open their gifts until they got home in case of theft. Smiles grew and grew and grew as the gifts were presented.
Senegal is a West African country with a population of 12 million, of which over half are children under 12, and there is a desperate need for basic necessities.
Canadians can help by continuing to pack shoe box gifts including school and hygiene items. Last year we contributed more than 680 boxes from our local area to the project, we helped to reach the 100 millionth gift worldwide, and we added to the total of 662,000 Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts collected across Canada. Thank you to all donors who help to reach these needy little folks in destitute areas of our world. Watch for our local Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box initiative in the fall.
Please donate $10 for every shoebox you prepare. Your donations will help cover project costs, including shipping (make one combined donation for multiple shoeboxes). Consider making an additional donation to help Samaritan's Purse go beyond the shoebox and expand assistance to children, their families, and their communities. Samaritan's Purse does not provide receipts for the value of gift items included in a shoebox.