“Can you imagine being three or four years old and living in the middle of a war?” asked Carol Daykin, Houston coordinator of Operation Christmas Child.
With thousands of refugees fleeing from the war zone in eastern Ukraine, hundreds of children have lost everything and many are separated from their families.
Operation Christmas Child wants to send 20,000 shoebox gifts from Canada to Ukraine, in addition to the regular boxes sent elsewhere around the world.
Shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items as a Christmas gift for children in areas torn by war, impacted by natural disasters or in extreme poverty.
Last year, the organization sent 664,066 shoeboxes across the world from Canada.
Of those boxes, Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Topley and Granisle together sent 401.
Daykin says filling a shoebox is a great activity for parents to do with their kids, and a great way to teach them about the spirit of Christmas.
A simple tool kit and hammer can give a young boy a trade in carpentry.
Shoeboxes for Ukraine should have winter gear as well as the regular items to help children weather the dropping temperatures.
The deadline for local shoeboxes is November 16 and boxes can also be packed online.
For more information, contact Carol Daykin at 250-845-2258 or go to www.samaritanspurse.ca/operation-christmas-child.