Next week is national collection week for the international relief charity Samaritan’s Purse.
And, for its third year, a Coquitlam church will accept gift boxes on behalf of the organization to help boys and girls in the Ukraine, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
Since 2016, Northside Foursquare Church — a 600-strong congregation that worships at 1460 Lansdowne Dr. — has collected 4,300 boxes for the cause, with the help of the community.
It has delivered hundreds of boxes to other Tri-City churches as well as Your Dollar Store (1960 Como Lake Ave., Coquitlam), Dollars & Cents (1410 Parkway Blvd., Coquitlam) and Dollar Tree (1097 Nicola Ave., Port Coquitlam) for the public to fill with toys, hygiene and school supplies, and small musical instruments for kids aged two to 14; food and toothpaste are not permitted.
Scarves can be added for Ukrainian-bound boxes, and items for tween boys are in urgent need. Donors are also asked to attach $10 to ship their box to the Samaritan’s Purse centre in Calgary.
Kate Rawlings, who leads a team of 20 volunteers at Northside Foursquare Church, said the gift boxes need to be on the Samaritan’s Purse truck by Saturday, Nov. 17. Drop offs can be made at the church Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Rawlings said filled boxes can also be dropped off at the La-Z-Boy Furniture store (1338 United Blvd., Coquitlam) and Tri-City Church (2145 Nova Scotia Ave., Port Coquitlam).
“Our Operation Christmas Child campaign is something we look forward to every year and we are so pleased with how the community responds,” she said. “The gifts put a smile on so many children’s faces.”