Fiona Ellis is busy gathering Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Fiona Ellis is busy gathering Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Sam Turner

Gayndah gifts bring joy to children in poverty

IMPOVERISHED children around the world will receive their own special gifts from Gayndah residents this Christmas.

Operation Christmas Child is a project run by Samaritan's Purse, a non-profit Christian organisation providing emergency relief around the world.

Operation Christmas Child partners with churches across the country which then call on their communities to provide Christmas gifts in shoeboxes to children in developing nations.

Gayndah's Fiona Ellis has been a part of the program for more than 20 years and will be co-ordinating this year's run of shoeboxes for Gayndah Presbyterian Church.

"They (Samaritan's Purse) do many things around the world, including disaster relief, emergency shelter, field hospitals, clean water projects and more,” Mrs Ellis said.

You can create boxes for three different age groups, from two to four, five to nine, and 10 to 14, for either a boy or a girl.

Once you have your shoebox that you've sourced online through the website or found yourself, you can fill it with a variety of items.

Some of these items may include clothes, sanitary items, toys, accessories and more.

"Even though these gift ideas are basic, we take all of this for granted and they don't,” Mrs Ellis said.

"We have so much in Australia, and it's a little thing we can do for a child who might have never received a gift in their life.”

Once the organisation has received the shoeboxes, they will then distribute them to underprivileged children in Asia, Africa, India, the Pacific Islands, and more.

"I've actually read a story where a village in the Pacific Islands had run out of soap, and when the Christmas boxes arrived, the village finally had soap,” Mrs Ellis said.

"We don't consider that you can run out of soap in Australia - our normal is truly privileged.”

There has been a strong community response to the shoebox project, and new people join the cause every year.

Mrs Ellis expects between 30 and 50 shoebox gifts to be donated this year in Gayndah before the cut-off date at the end of October.

"I will either have to take them to the distribution point in Kingaroy on October 25 or Gympie on October 30,” she said.

If you'd like to find out how to join this worthy cause, click here for the brochure or contact 1800 684 300.


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