Operation Christmas Child assisted by Scots School, Bathurst

A RECORD number of boxes have been packed in Bathurst for this year’s Operation Christmas Child project.

The project distributes millions of gift boxes to children worldwide who are living in poverty, as refugees or those impacted by natural disasters.

This year, the Bathurst community packed 1810 boxes, this was up on the 1700 from last year.

Bathurst co-ordinator Faye Taylor said she was overwhelmed by the community’s generosity.

“We were really quite surprised … they just kept coming in,” she said.

“It’s not just boxes, people were giving us bags of stuff so we can pack boxes.”

Operation Christmas Child participants are asked to pack six items in each shoebox of gifts, including: something to love, something for school, something to play with, something special, something to wear and a personal hygiene item.

We just think it’s a really worthwhile thing for the kids to think about and focus on other people.

Scots School teacher Jennie White

Mrs Taylor praised the community for its support and said it was a real team effort, with school, community and church groups all taking part.

Among the schools to take part was the Scots School with students packing  around 100 gift boxes.

Kindergarten teacher Jennie White said the junior school had taken part for a number of years and some students filled more than one gift box.

“We just think it’s a really worthwhile thing for the kids to think about and focus on other people,” she said.

Operation Christmas Child is just one initiative that Samaritan's Purse Australia and New Zealand run across the world.

Mrs Taylor said the non-profit group provides a rang of emergency relief and development assistance to suffering people around the world.

Some of the programs run by the group include: clean water initiatives; education and vocational training; animals, agriculture and livelihoods programs; and health and nutrition.

“The bicycle program provides a bicycle for children starting high school because most of them [children] drop out of school after Year 6 because they can’t get to school,” Mrs Taylor said.