Operation Christmas Child is an annual effort put forward by Samaritan's Purse.  The goal is to get the public to pack shoeboxes for children in other parts of the world, filling them with school items, clothing, hygiene products and/or a small toy.  Fort Saskatchewan gets the opportunity to take part in the campaign, thanks to the Fort Saskatchewan Alliance Church.  In 2014, they collected 615 boxes, which led to a goal of 700 for this year.  That goal was surpassed with a final total of 824.

Ashli DeLong, Director of Community Life at Fort Saskatchewan Alliance Church says, "Very thankful to our Church community and the community at large because we had boxes come in from all over Fort Saskatchewan and area."  Ashli commented on how the boxes aren't necessarily an actual Christmas box, but a box that will help the children with their schooling or day to day lives.  It's a great chance for families to come together and make a difference in a child's life in another part of the world.  It also opens up a dialogue for families to talk about what life is like in another part of the world.

The Fort Alliance Church starts thinking about their collection campaign in the summer, with the plan rolling out in the fall.  Collection of the boxes takes place in the last part of November - but that is only the first part of the trip for the shoeboxes.  They are then sent to the Edmonton collection centre, off to Calgary and around the world and distributed throughout the year. 

Bruderheim School also took part in their own campaign for Operation Christmas child.  Jessica Massel, the Grade 5/6 teacher in Bruderheim School brought the program to the children three years ago after personally experiencing what the program offers.  The entire school participates, with an increasing success.  20 boxes were sent in the first year, last year a total of 40 and this year saw 38.  The children had options to participate - through cash donations, bringing single items in or to take a box home to fill with their family.

Massel thinks the program is important.  "It gives an opportunity to provide students with an awareness of the world outside of Bruderheim and even Canada and help them develop a heart to help those around them.  They were very excited."