’Tis the season to create a little Christmas cheer for boys and girls in developing and war-torn areas of the world.
The Children’s Shopping Village is being held at The Bridge Church, located at 285 Didsbury Rd., on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants are invited to fill backpacks with gifts that will be delivered during the holiday season.
“We’ve got so much stuff,” said volunteer Roslyn Tegano, who has been a part of the organization since it began in Stittsville about eight years ago.
“It started with a little guy’s eighth birthday, his name is Patrick Phillipson, and he wanted to have kids to his birthday party to pack a shoebox; he didn’t want any gifts.”
After the first event was so successful, Tegano and Christine Phillipson, Patrick’s mother, decided to see if others wanted to take part.
“The next year we decided to see if anyone else wanted to come and participate,” said Tegano. “We just thought maybe we could up it a little bit and make it a little better.
“It just kept getting bigger and bigger every year.”
They decided to switch from using shoeboxes to sending drawstring knapsacks that can be reused by the recipients.
“They’re water resistant and reflect at night,” said Tegano.
Participants pay a $20 flat fee when they enter the Children’s Shopping Village, which helps cover the cost of purchasing the items and for shipping.
“You choose a red or green backpack,” said Tegano. “Also included is a bar of soap, toothbrush, comb and washcloth.”
Then participants choose nine other gifts from hundreds of available items, which could be school supplies, clothes or toys, like stuffed animals and beach balls.
“You have to have the fun things,” said Tegano.
Children in six countries will receive gifts from the organization: Uruguay, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Guinea-Bissau.
“The countries that they’re going to, they don’t even have Christmas,” said Tegano.
For more information, visit samaritanspurse.ca/operation-christmas-child.