Vernon residents Joell (rear left) and Nicole (front right) Friesen drove six hours with their daughters Nailah (front left) and Isabel (rear right) to help inspect Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes at the Calgary headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse. (Contributed)

Vernon residents Joell (rear left) and Nicole (front right) Friesen drove six hours with their daughters Nailah (front left) and Isabel (rear right) to help inspect Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes at the Calgary headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse. (Contributed)

Vernon family goes the extra mile to support kids at Christmas

Friesen’s drove to Calgary to take part in Operation Christmas Child shoebox inspections

A Vernon family drove to great lengths to ensure children around the world have something to make them smile Christmas morning.

Joell and Nicole Friesen travelled six hours with their daughters Nailah and Isabel to help inspect Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes at the Calgary headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse.

“I like how the shoeboxes can bless kids that don’t have all these things,” said Isabel.

Once they’ve been inspected (to ensure none of the contents can scare or harm a child, or cause any customs problems) hundreds of thousands of shoeboxes packed by generous Canadians like the Friesens go to countries in Central America and west Africa.

“I love giving away gifts and blessing kids,” Nailah said.

The boxes are given to children who, in many cases, have never received a gift in their lives.

“It’s fun to bless children, especially as we know they will share their box contents with their families,” Nicole said.

The Friesens often saw Canadian-packed shoeboxes distributed to children in need during their 11 years living in the west African nation of Senegal. Back home in Canada, Joell said they made the trip to the Calgary processing centre because “we wanted to come and see the program at this end.”

Residents can still pack shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children in need online at PackaBox.ca.

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