When the community of Fort McMurray suffered the costliest disaster in Canadian history, and catastrophic floods in Southern Alberta forced thousands from their homes, Samaritan’s Purse (a registered charity) was there to help. Their Disaster Response Units included tractor trailers equipped with generators, pumps, bobcats, and a mobile warehouse of tools.
Volunteers shoveled mud and debris, and helped remove freezers and fridges containing rotting food from surviving homes, after weeks without power. By all accounts, they were a welcome presence; greatly appreciated by both communities in their hour of need. In addition, Samaritans Purse provides Bio Sand Water Filtration Systems overseas to help prevent disease and health care where none exists.
Operation Christmas Child (a subsidiary), distributes donated shoe boxes globally; filled with school supplies, toys, and hygiene items for hurting children. For the privileged few, it is unthinkable that any child could be denied an education simply because a parent cannot afford pencils and paper, yet in some parts of the world, that fact is a stark reality.
After participating for the past twenty+ years, it seems that Abbotsford public schools are no longer permitted to collect the gift boxes. One single letter of complaint has overruled the masses, despite the fact that the organization places no religious materials inside the boxes, neither does it exclude children of differing religions from receiving a box.
In my opinion, students who wish to participate should be permitted to do so, just as they have in previous years. Those who do not are under no obligation whatsoever. Students should be made aware of the opportunity to give back to this worthy cause, and help make a positive difference in a distressed child’s life.