A family tradition expanded to include an entire student population to spread Christmas to other countries this month.
Grade 11 students Georgia Taylor and Katelyn Lueder hauled box after box of shoeboxes to stuff Oak Bay High teacher Roxanne Taggart’s car. The piles were gathered by the school’s Leadership team.
“We do this because it gives children the option to have Christmas,” said Katelyn. “Canada delivers to 10 different countries.”
“A lot haven’t had a Christmas before and it’s great to give them that first gift,” said Georgia.
They shoeboxes stuffed with gifts are delivered through Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. Last year, more than 6,000 boxes from Victoria went to Haiti, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ukraine, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.
For both girls it reminds them of their first taste of philanthropy as children.
“I did it as a kid with my family and thought it would be amazing to do it again,” said Georgia. “It was an amazing thing, my family would come together and … buy everything for the shoebox.”
Katelyn had a similar experience as a youngster.
“You’d all pile into the van and … buy all the special stuff you wanted (for Christmas),” Katelyn said. “It’s special to see other people in our school doing it and getting excited about it.”
“We even got mayor and council involved this year,” Taggart said. “They donated money and we went and shopped.”
This year Oak Bay High filled 125 shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items, toys and small clothing items.
“I hope we can do double next year,” Katelyn said.