Operation Christmas Child does not sneak up on the folks at Cascade Park Care Center in Vancouver, Wash.
In early 2011, the facility strategically began collecting items. Each month, associates and guests were encouraged to bring a featured type of gift to fill the shoe boxes for children in need around the world. It started in January with toothpaste, and over the months associates pitched in to the collection of toothbrushes, combs, socks, hats, small toys, sunglasses, soap and washcloths. In October, the collection culminated with the final items – pens, pencils and crayons.
The gifts were sorted by age group, and residents filled the boxes with the goodies in October. To top it off, many of the residents could be found elbow-deep in wrapping paper and shoe boxes as associates coached them on how to beautifully wrap the boxes.
Julie Beasley, licensed practical nurse, shared, “You could hear phrases like, ‘This is a lot of fun,’ and, ‘I didn’t know wrapping boxes could be so enjoyable.’”
All the while, the participants were thinking about the children who would receive the boxes – children affected by war, poverty, disease and natural disaster.
One resident said, “I wish I could see them open these.”
“I know these will make them happy,” added another resident.
Cascade Park Care Center collected 394 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this year. Associates found out their boxes will go to Peru in March 2012.
Meanwhile, the 2012 gift collecting at the facility started again in January with toothbrushes.