Last week Swift Current and area residents made the trip to Calgary shipping Christmas presents to third world countries.

Around 40 people involved with youth groups in and around Swift Current were helping ship shoeboxes filled with gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child.

Their job was ensuring that packages did not contain anything like liquids or candy, and preparing the boxes to be shipped.

Volunteers from the groups were at Samaritan's Purse's Processing Centre in Calgary, which handles shipping for all of western Canada.

Dave Funk, a chaperone from Swift Current at the event, hopes the experience provides a unique experience for the youth who participated in it.

"I think it gives them a better appreciation of their way of life here in North America, because if they realize that the only Christmas Gift they're getting is that little shoe box that goes through their hands, that's a pretty sobering thought, and I think it makes them more appreciative and more thoughtful for the stuff that they do get, even though it may not be what they want."

Funk said that being a part of the group of people who filled the factory to pack the boxes was a fun experience.

"It was fun because we were a part of a larger group, so there may have been several hundred of us all doing similar jobs, and not all of them were youth groups or large groups, some of them are just a family, sometimes it was just a couple of people who decided that they wanted to do something different, or help third-world countries in a different way, so they come out and volunteer for a shift, and so we all kind of worked together."

Since Operation Christmas Child began in 1990, over 157 million children in over 130 countries have received a shoebox.

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