May might seem like an awkward time to be featuring an article in The Pilot about the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child initiative, but there’s never a bad time to highlight this amazing project.
As Larry Sheppard of Lewisporte found out just recently (related article page 1A), the shoeboxes we have all come to know through Operation Christmas Child are more about the gift of sharing than just about giving a gift at Christmas.
As Mr. Sheppard travelled to villages in Costa Rica as part of a Canadian team distributing the shoeboxes - including one from area student Desiree Nippard that he hand delivered to a two-year-old girl - he experienced first-hand the joy a simple shoebox size gift can bring to a child in need.
He was most touched by the fact that the children didn’t just put items like footwear and personal hygiene items to the side. To these children those items were just as precious as any toy, pencil crayons or candy that was also included in the parcel. The word Mr. Sheppard used to best describe the reaction of the children was “appreciative.”
The children Mr. Sheppard met don’t have it easy. As noted in the page 1A article, not only do many of them experience poverty each day, but they are also exposed to things no child should need to think about, much less live through such as issues with drugs, alcohol and child prostitution.