Operation Christmas Child Ridge Meadows turned out to be a massive success.
Generous residents from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows filled 3,166 shoeboxes with items such as small toys, hygiene items, school supplies, hard candy, personal notes, and photos.
This was a jump of almost 100 shoeboxes from 2011, when 3,075 were created locally.
The shoeboxes will be shipped to needy children in developing countries.
They left Maple Ridge for Calgary where they will be sorted by age and gender and shipped to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Paraguay, and two countries in West Africa, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea.
"It will be definitely a 'Christmas Day' for all these children, and bring so much happiness and joy to them," said OCC Ridge Meadows local coordinator Barb Gustafson, who has seen first hand the difference the boxes can make.
She travelled with OCC to deliver them to children in Nicaragua in 2003 and 2004, and to kids in Bolivia in 2007.
This year, OCC is striving to collect and distribute its hundred-millionth shoebox globally since the program began in 1993.
For more about the annual Christmas program, people can contact Gustafson at 604-467-9794.