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  • Vermilion Voice

Shoebox Spirit

From left, Diana Smith and Basia Bosgra pack shoeboxes at the Samaritan’s Purse Operation

Christmas Child Processing Centre in Calgary on December 2. Photo submitted

Vermilion residents travelled to the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Processing

Centre in Calgary on Dec 2. Basia Bosgra and Diana Smith have been attending for the past three years to assist in packing


“It is a great feeling to be part of organization that helps people in need. Nothing would be possible without hundreds and hundreds volunteers coming together from all over Alberta with a common goal to serve.” said Basia Bosgra.

Bosgra was born in Poland, and as a child remembers her family struggling from day to day. It

was at this time, that she was a recipient of a Christmas shoebox. The parcels had been

delivered to her local church and distributed to the children of families in need.

“It was a very good experience from the receiving side. As a little girl, I remember how excited I was to receive a box full of winter clothes, candies and school supplies. I had no idea who packed the boxes but I was so grateful for their generosity ” said Bosgra.

After several years, Bosgra felt lucky to come to Canada where she had seen people send shoeboxes from a local Church. She felt the desire to make a difference in child’s life by getting involved with Samaritian’s purse, and four years ago, she attended the Processing Centre by herself.

“It’s nice to be able to do volunteer work; especially to help children. The excitement of being on the

giving side put a peace in my heart; to be able to help families in need,” said Bosgra.

Feeling rewarded, Bosgra asked her friend, Diana Smith to join her in this great adventure, and they have continued to attend for the past three years.

During this year’s shift, the ladies helped pack 1,500 boxes in two and a half hours. According to

Bosgra, Operation Christmas Child will continue packing shoeboxes until mid-December. At the

time of their shift, the Calgary Processing Centre had packed 137, 785 shoeboxes and

combined with a Processing Centre in Ontario, Canada had packed 269,645 shoeboxes. In

2017, the Calgary Processing Centre plans to deliver shoeboxes to children in Costa Rica, El

Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chile, and the Ukraine.

"One day I would love to go to one of the less fortunate countries and hand deliver the shoes boxes to children who just want to be loved and cared for. A great reward for me would be to see a smile on their faces just like I had when I received my box," said Bosgra.

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