Hundreds of thousands of shoeboxes are collected during National Collection Week, the third week in November every year. Before these special gifts can bring hope and joy to children around the world, each one has to be carefully inspected and made ready for overseas shipment by volunteers like you. You can help prepare shoeboxes for delivery by volunteering at one of our two processing centers across Canada, where about 20,000 volunteers serve each year.
We have opportunities at the processing centers for volunteer groups of all sizes. You can volunteer as an individual or with family and friends.
At our Operation Christmas Child processing centers, you will work with hundreds of other volunteers to inspect shoeboxes and ensure that the contents are appropriate for children and meet customs regulations (as outlined in our how to pack a shoebox instructions).
Shoeboxes are also prepared for shipping and loaded into sea containers to begin their long journey to hurting children around the world.
Processing Center Locations
- Calgary, Alberta
- Guelph or Kitchener/Waterloo area, Ontario (location to be confirmed for 2018)
Processing Center Dates
In 2018, we will begin our normal processing season late November to mid December (Nov 22-24, Nov 27-Dec 1, Dec 4-7). The online application to request volunteer shifts during this time will be made available at this page on Oct. 1, 2018 at 8 a.m. MDT.
In the Calgary Processing Center we have year-round special volunteer projects like Pack A Box and Material Distribution (preparing all the promotional materials to go out in the fall). If you would like to learn more or be notified of upcoming volunteer opportunities in Calgary, please call 403-250-6565 or email email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the roles at a processing center?
Every volunteer in the processing center plays an important role in the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, ensuring the integrity and successful delivery of the gifts. Volunteers in the processing center form teams and perform all the tasks necessary to process the shoeboxes.
Teams are responsible for removing financial contributions from the shoeboxes, inspecting the gifts, sorting inappropriate items, working with filler items, separating boxes by age and gender, and packing shoeboxes in designated cartons. Due to the fast-paced environment of the warehouse and changing needs, you may be asked to do different tasks. We appreciate your flexibility.
Are there employment opportunities?
Yes, we recruit staff to help coach volunteers in the processing center. In the summer, check our employment page to see what employment opportunities exist for each processing center location.
What are the dates of operation?
Processing centers are open late November to mid-December to prepare shoebox gifts for international shipping.
Can any age volunteer?
All volunteers must be at least 14 years of age, regardless of a student’s grade level. Due to the warehouse environment, we can’t allow exceptions to this age requirement. At least one chaperone for every five youth is required (youth volunteers include any volunteers between the ages of 14-17). The primary responsibility of a chaperone is to ensure the safety and appropriate behavior of your youth. For the safety of all volunteers in the warehouse, processing center staff reserve the right to ask any group not acting in accordance with safety procedures and outlined policies to leave the building at any time.
What if my child is too young to volunteer?
Children under the age of 14 are not able to volunteer in a processing center; however, tours are available throughout the season when families or groups with children under 14 or individuals who want to know more about the project can come to the processing center. The tours help people learn about the journey of a shoebox, what we do at the warehouse, and how they can pray for children receiving boxes. Tours of the Calgary warehouse are available year round, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. In Ontario, we lease temporary warehouse space each fall, so please contact us in October or November for more information.
What is the address of the processing centers?
- Calgary, AB: 20 Hopewell Way NE, Calgary, AB
- Guelph or Kitchener/Waterloo, ON: address information will be added once the space is secured
Please join us in prayer as we search for and secure a processing center warehouse in Ontario.
What should I wear to the processing centers?
Our processing centers are in warehouses, so please make proper provisions to be comfortably and appropriately dressed for this environment. Be prepared with closed-toe shoes appropriate for standing for long periods, and warm, layered, casual clothes as the temperature inside can vary. Breaks are available as needed.
What if the day I’d like to serve is full?
A volunteer coordinator can add you to the waiting list for your preferred time; if and when space opens up, we will contact you.