A non-denominational effort to make Christmas that much brighter for children affected by famine, war and poverty is well underway in Port Macquarie.
Operation Christmas Child is part of the worldwide organisation Samaritan’s Purse that last year helped deliver some 386,943 showboxes from across Australia containing hand-made gifts and other items.
Locally, there were 2400 boxes forwarded to the project from the Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Acting regional coordinator, Operation Christmas Child, Port Macquarie region Graeme Kightley said communities involved included Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Laurieton, Comboyne, Kendall, Beechwood, Bonny Hills and the Camden Haven.
“For many of these children it will be the first time they have received a Christmas gift,” he said.
Once completed, the shoeboxes are delivered to neighbouring countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa.
Last year, some 11.5 million children received a hand-delivered shoebox in 154 countries.
The boxes are filled with items from each of six categories: something to love, something for school, something for personal hygiene, something to wear, something to play with and something special.
Mr Kightley said there has been a steady increase in generosity over the past five years with contributions from many areas of the community.
“We have support from churches, schools – state, Catholic and independent sectors – pre-schools, individual families, early childhood organisations, family day care centres, business, support services, Koorong Books – who act as a receiving depot – and the local council.
“We have united in this great cause,” he said.
For more information on the project and to get involved contact Graeme Kightley on 6584 8387 or 0408 646 564, enquire at the Port Anglican Church office, Monday to Friday, 9am until noon or go to operation Christmas child’s website www.operationchristmaschild.org.au