Good Samaritans get busy at working bee for Operation Christmas Child

HELPING CHILDREN: Volunteers Joy Crowe, Elizabeth Kay and Jean Penrose filled boxes to give to children living in poverty during a Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child working bee on Saturday. Photo: TANYA MARSCHKE

HELPING CHILDREN: Volunteers Joy Crowe, Elizabeth Kay and Jean Penrose filled boxes to give to children living in poverty during a Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child working bee on Saturday. Photo: TANYA MARSCHKE

A group of volunteers dedicated their time on Saturday to filling shoe boxes with items to give to children living in poverty in south-east Asia and islands in the Pacific.

The volunteers filled the boxes for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child campaign.

This year’s donations will be given to children in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu.

The filled boxes will be sent to a distribution centre in Sydney from where they will be sent overseas in time for Christmas.

Each shoe box is created for either a boy or a girl aged between two and four, five and nine, or 10 and 14.

They each contain something to love, something to wear, something for school, something to play with, personal hygiene items including a face washer, soap and toothbrush, as well as a handmade cloth bag. 

Held at the Christian Ministry Centre in Cecil Road, the Pperation Christmas Child packs have been made for about 20 years under the leadership of Robyn Hicks, Jenny Abbott and Pam Johnson.

Mrs Hicks has been involved from the beginning and said the first time she took part there were four to six boxes sent from Orange to children in need.

“Last year was 1500 and this year we hope to get more than that,” Mrs Hicks said.

“[They are] not just [from] Orange, its Orange and the surrounding district, [including] Blayney, Molong, Cudal and Millthorpe. 

“We started in February, we try and meet on the third Saturday of the month and we finish on October 28.”

Joy Crowe and Jenny Abbott fill shoe boxes with items to give to for 10 to 14-year-old boys.

Joy Crowe and Jenny Abbott fill shoe boxes with items to give to for 10 to 14-year-old boys.

Mrs Hicks said although not every country, where recipients live, celebrates Christmas, it was still important to give a gift to the children to show them that people care about them and to help them.

She said some of the children have never had toys of their own and lived in households that shared a toothbrush. 

Mrs Hicks saw that when she and fellow Orange organiser Jenny Abbott visited the northern part of Vietnam with Samaritan’s Purse about four years ago and got to see the delight on children’s faces when they opened their boxes for the first time.

The children were exited even to receive a box of pencils of their own for the first time and their joy was spread to their parents, grandparents, community members and communist officials, who accompanied Mrs Hicks’ group.

She said some of the popular items that went into the shoe boxes were beanies as well as soft toys, skipping ropes marbles and toy cars as well as jewellery for older girls.

The youngest age group can also receive wooden blocks and wooden toys that have been hand painted by students from Glenroi Heights Public School and workers from Wangarang.

As well as filling the boxes with ready made items, the 11 volunteers who took part in the working bee on Saturday morning also made items to be put into the boxes.

The hand made items included jigsaw puzzles made from images off calendars and cereal boxes, to sewn pieces such as clothing and bags.

Last week the scouts also packed 200 boxes and the second Orange Cubs packed 54 boxes for the cause. 

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