As we near closer to the holiday season, Operation Christmas child is once again spearheading the season, which is hoped to be, full of giving.

Operation Christmas Child is a donation service that allows Canadians to give gifts to children in developing countries. Items like toys, school supplies, and specific hygiene items are packed into a shoe box, and shipped off to a child who may be living in a desperate situation.

National Collection week ran between November 18 - 24, and Rosetown’s Alliance Church was one of the locations in the West Central Region where shoe boxes were dropped off.

Derrick Deobald, head of logistics for Rosetown's Operation Christmas Child, said this year they teamed up with Spokes in Kindersley, which had a substantial impact on shoeboxes collected.

"This year we had about 200 more boxed because of our partnership with Kindersley, so that was great to see, and then with the collections from the surrounding communities as well including Elrose and Eston."

In total, 548 shoeboxes were collected from the west central region, that will now be shipped to countries around the world, including El Salvador, Gambia and Costa Rica. 

Deobald shared that although they do focus their efforts on shoebox collection around the Christmas holidays, it is a program that runs all year long.

"In Calgary, they have full staff all throughout the year and if people can't get to a drop-off location or if they missed the collection week, you can go onto and donate all year round."

He shared some tips for those who are looking to donate, stating that although some may think it's a good idea to pack the items in a backpack or plastic tote, it is preferred that the shoeboxes are used. 

"We put them all into cartons, so we can fit 24 shoeboxes in a carton, and although the backpacks can be nice, it limits how many we can pack into a box so instead of sending 24, we can only send sometimes 13 or 14."

In total More than 517,000 boxes have already been filled, and are ready to be sent to countries like Central America and West Africa.