IF community spirit is anything to go by, this year’s Operation Christmas Child in Bathurst has been an outstanding success.
The operation, which is organised by the Samaritan’s Purse humanitarian organisation each year, distributes thousands of gifts worldwide to children in need.
The location of those who are helped changes each year, and children targeted can be living in poverty, affected by a natural disaster or be a refugee.
This is the 14th year that Bathurst co-ordinator Lisa Limbrick has been involved with the charity drive.
“The idea is to get a shoe box and you put six things in it,” she said.
Those six things must be something to wear, something to love, something special, something for school, something to play with and a personal hygiene item.
Dr Limbrick said people are welcome to be creative with what they put in the box, as long as it fits within the guidelines.
She added that often people include a toothbrush as the personal hygiene item.
“Often it’s the first toothbrush the recipient may have ever owned,” she said.
Dr Limbrick said this year’s Operation Christmas Child has attracted more than double the number of donations received in 2014.
She expects between 800 and 1000 boxes to be filled in Bathurst alone – a huge increase on the 450 last year.
Many groups have helped pack boxes this year, including students at All Saints’ College, Scots School and MacKillop College.
Community groups including The Woodies, Quota, 3rd Bathurst Scouts, Hope Church and local businesses have also contributed a box of presents to the cause.
“It’s just amazing ... groups of such a difference have come together,” Dr Limbrick said.
“The kids [who have helped] are loving it and they were all really enthusiastic.
“It’s great for kids to think about someone else for a while.”
Dr Limbrick said there is still time to get involved, but those who want to do so will need to be quick as a truck will leave Bathurst on Monday, October 26 laden with boxes for Sydney.
Visit Operation Christmas Child online for more information.