He was quite touched by the generosity of the children.
“They were so appreciative that many of them wanted to share the candy some of them received in their shoeboxes with us,” he said. “Even though some of them may have very little to call their own, they still wanted to share what they had with us.”
Speaking with classes from Lewisporte Collegiate after his return from Costa Rica, Mr. Sheppard said they had many questions, including if the shoeboxes are really the only gift some of them will receive this year, which is a reality for many of them.
As a local distribution coordinator, Ms. Sheppard said people wonder why the shoeboxes are not all distributed at the same time during the Christmas season. With so many shoeboxes and so many children to reach in countries around the world, it is impossible to have them all delivered for Christmas.
“For some of them, based on the region they live in or religious beliefs, Dec. 25 is just another day,” he said. “But the shoeboxes are about so much more than just being a Christmas gift. They are given in the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of sharing.”
So the children receiving the shoeboxes on Christmas morning isn’t the most important thing, the fact that they receive them at all is.
As a past distribution centre coordinator, Mr. Sheppard has received lots of questions in the past about Operation Christmas Child. People have asked him before if the shoeboxes ever really arrive in the hands of the children, and this was proof that they do. He looks forward to sharing his experiences and first-hand knowledge of the distribution of shoeboxes with people locally.
It’s not just the shoeboxes that Samaritan’s Purse is involved in. Mr. Sheppard got to experience other levels of giving through this initiative such as supplying school supplies to a school where the principal was very appreciative because she had been stressed about the lack of supplies. Mr. Sheppard was able to pray with the principal, having his prayers translated.