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Friends from Vernon and Chase making Christmas merry for children around the world

Sharon Israelson and Darlene Siebert helped out at the Operation Christmas Child processing centre in Calgary
Vernon’s Sharon Israelson (left) and Chase’s Darlene Siebert travelled to Calgary to help out at the Operation Christmas Child processing centre Dec. 8, 2022. (Frank King photo)

A pair of women from the Shuswap and North Okanagan went the extra mile to ensure children have a merry Christmas this holiday season.

Vernon resident Sharon Israelson and Chase resident Darlene Siebert travelled to Calgary to help children in need at the Operation Christmas Child processing centre.

The ladies spent three days inspecting Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes before they were packed in cartons and transported to Central America, west Africa, the Philippines and Ukraine.

In many cases, the children who will receive the shoeboxes have never received a gift in their lives.

The two friends have been making drawstring bags to put in shoeboxes for six years. They estimate that during that time, they’ve made about 1,000 bags.

“I wanted to see what happened to the bags, but they were already put in shoeboxes when we arrived here,” said Israelson, 73. “This has been a great experience, working with others who want to see children in need get something special.”

The two ladies were touched by videos of children in need receiving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies.

“They’re so excited to get their boxes and we know the love of God goes with each box,” Israelson said.

Siebert, 64, noted she and Israelson “are in a position to do a lot of volunteering, so I’m open to whatever opportunities God puts before me. I love working with others toward a common goal: showing God’s love for the world.”

Siebert continues to take part in Operation Christmas Child because “there will always be poor among us and we need to do something about it. And Samaritan’s Purse follows through with what they say they will do.”

It’s not too late to help children in need. Visit and pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes online.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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