Operation Christmas Child is packing for a cause

The saying goes that good things come in small packages and that will ring true this weekend when shoeboxes are filled with goodies for disadvantaged children across the globe.

Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child is hosting a packing party at Warrnambool’s New Life Christian Church on Saturday.

Help: Sisters Lorraine Fitzpatrick and Marilyn Coleman are looking for some helpers to come along and pack boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Help: Sisters Lorraine Fitzpatrick and Marilyn Coleman are looking for some helpers to come along and pack boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The community is invited to come along to fill boxes with toys, school supplies and clothes at the event, held from 1pm-4pm.

Lorraine Fitzpatrick, who has been involved in the project for a decade, said all the items will be on-hand for people to add to their box.

The shoeboxes are filled with six items – something to wear, something to love, something special, something for school, something to play with and something for personal hygiene. 

Later in the year, the boxes are shipped off to south-east Asia where they brighten the lives of children.

Ms Fitzpatrick said people were asked to bring along $15, with $10 helping to cover freight costs and $5 towards replacing items like soaps and toothbrushes.

People are also encouraged to write a card or add a photo to their shoebox.

“Kids love that. It sort of makes it real. I’ve got a story from a lady in Papua New Guinea who got one when she was a child and she called it her treasure box. She couldn’t imagine that someone who didn’t know her would send her this box full of stuff,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

Countless craft days have created items to help fill the boxes.

“People knit teddies, they do beanies. We’ve got two or three ladies who are really good at finding the bargains and they come with a whole lot of pencils and exercise books and all through the year people will just drop off a shopping bag full of stuff, so it adds up,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

Organisers hope to complete about 100 boxes at Saturday’s event and Ms Fitzpatrick said they would experience the joy of giving.

‘It’s a great way of teaching the kids that they can do something for somebody else,” she said. 

“That’s been the premise behind it all – that kids can feel that they can make a real difference.”