This is a list of items that are (and are not) encouraged to be included in the shoeboxes.  Pioneer file photo

This is a list of items that are (and are not) encouraged to be included in the shoeboxes.Pioneer file photo

By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

Along with festive light displays, charitable Christmas programs are now up and running across the valley.

One such program, Operation Christmas Child, enables gift giving from wealthier to poorer nations.

Were all very fortunate to be living in the country we live in; we have all kinds of different freedoms and opportunities, said Trudi Wells, who operates the local chapter. Were all blessed enough to provide things to people in these other countries that they dont have or that arent

readily available to them.

Those who would like to participate need only to fill a shoebox with childrens toys, specific to a particular age and gender, along with a $7 donation fee.

Collection week happens from November 18th through 22nd, with headquarters at the Lake Windermere Alliance Church on 10th Avenue in Invermere, where church volunteers will collect boxes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Boxes can also be dropped off in Invermere at Canadian Tire, Red Apple, and Selkirk TV and Appliance, and at Pips Country Store in Edgewater.

Along with toys and hard candy, recipients would also benefit from clothing and hygiene products. Donors can also write a note to the recipient. Used items, playing cards, and violent toys cannot be shipped.

Theres nothing worse than thinking youve done something good and then have half of your stuff (removed), said Ms. Wells, who can be reached for more

information at .

Three schools in the valley Windermere Elementary School, Edgewater Elementary, and David Thompson Secondary School are all participating in Operation Christmas Child this year.