Operation: making dreams come true

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

For years, Ellen Martin and her family have been loyal supporters of Operation Christmas Child, the project that sends gifts in shoeboxes to children in impoverished countries at Christmastime. But the Millgrove teen always wondered what it would be like to see the reaction of children in far-off countries when they got their gifts.

This past Christmas, she got a chance to see for herself just what these gifts mean to children who have so little. It's an experience she won't ever forget.

The Grade 12 Parkside High School student was part of a 100-member team of students and leaders who traveled to Belize in Central America last month.

"It was really special to be with children who appreciate what they have. They didn't have much but they were so excited to get the gifts," she said.

The shoeboxes, distributed to children between the ages of two and 14, contain a variety of items, including personal hygiene products, small toys, and school supplies, such as markers and crayons. The green and red boxes are filled every year by church groups and individuals who want children around the world to experience the joy of Christmas.

During her 10-day stay (December 12-22) in Belize, Ellen and a group of youths traveled to schools and churches to hand out the boxes. They went by bus from their base camp in Belmoban to several nearby villages, where they handed out the boxes, sang songs with the children while they waited to open their gifts and then sat back to enjoy the expressions on the children's faces.

"All the children lined up, and then were separated into age groups. Everybody had to have a box before anyone could open them," Martin explained. When the boxes were opened, the youths spent some time getting to know the children and showing them how to use some of their gifts.

Martin came home with a lasting impression about Belize and its people.

"It's a very beautiful country" with lots of eye-catching scenery, including the nearby ocean, mountains and lush landscape. "The people were amazing, so friendly. They would wave and smile at us as we went by," she recalled.

While there, Martin also helped paint a church and look after children at a doctor's clinic. There were doctors on the visiting team and they brought their medical expertise to many villages.

Martin, a member of Grindstone Valley Bible Church in Waterdown, said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip and "would love to do it again." She feels the Operation Christmas Child campaign is a worthy project, which helps reach out to the less fortunate. She is pleased to have taken an active part in it for the past several years and looks forward to helping out in future campaigns.

This past Christmas, she coordinated a shoebox drive at her Dundas high school and was a member of a local committee which entered an Operation Christmas Child float in the Flamborough Santa Claus parade. She also helped coordinate a Flamborough volunteer day at a warehouse in Cambridge where the shoeboxes were packaged and readied for shipping.

The local community was very generous, donating more than 1,000 boxes to the project. "I thank everyone who contributed to Operation Christmas Child," Martin said, adding that it's hard to imagine the impact that one small box full of gifts can have on a child. Thanks to her trip to Belize, she doesn't have to imagine anymore. She knows the joy that these gifts bring. She has seen first-hand how grateful the children are to receive them.

"It was really refreshing to see. The children appreciated their gifts 100 per cent."

Operation: making dreams come true

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

For years, Ellen Martin and her family have been loyal supporters of Operation Christmas Child, the project that sends gifts in shoeboxes to children in impoverished countries at Christmastime. But the Millgrove teen always wondered what it would be like to see the reaction of children in far-off countries when they got their gifts.

This past Christmas, she got a chance to see for herself just what these gifts mean to children who have so little. It's an experience she won't ever forget.

The Grade 12 Parkside High School student was part of a 100-member team of students and leaders who traveled to Belize in Central America last month.

"It was really special to be with children who appreciate what they have. They didn't have much but they were so excited to get the gifts," she said.

The shoeboxes, distributed to children between the ages of two and 14, contain a variety of items, including personal hygiene products, small toys, and school supplies, such as markers and crayons. The green and red boxes are filled every year by church groups and individuals who want children around the world to experience the joy of Christmas.

During her 10-day stay (December 12-22) in Belize, Ellen and a group of youths traveled to schools and churches to hand out the boxes. They went by bus from their base camp in Belmoban to several nearby villages, where they handed out the boxes, sang songs with the children while they waited to open their gifts and then sat back to enjoy the expressions on the children's faces.

"All the children lined up, and then were separated into age groups. Everybody had to have a box before anyone could open them," Martin explained. When the boxes were opened, the youths spent some time getting to know the children and showing them how to use some of their gifts.

Martin came home with a lasting impression about Belize and its people.

"It's a very beautiful country" with lots of eye-catching scenery, including the nearby ocean, mountains and lush landscape. "The people were amazing, so friendly. They would wave and smile at us as we went by," she recalled.

While there, Martin also helped paint a church and look after children at a doctor's clinic. There were doctors on the visiting team and they brought their medical expertise to many villages.

Martin, a member of Grindstone Valley Bible Church in Waterdown, said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip and "would love to do it again." She feels the Operation Christmas Child campaign is a worthy project, which helps reach out to the less fortunate. She is pleased to have taken an active part in it for the past several years and looks forward to helping out in future campaigns.

This past Christmas, she coordinated a shoebox drive at her Dundas high school and was a member of a local committee which entered an Operation Christmas Child float in the Flamborough Santa Claus parade. She also helped coordinate a Flamborough volunteer day at a warehouse in Cambridge where the shoeboxes were packaged and readied for shipping.

The local community was very generous, donating more than 1,000 boxes to the project. "I thank everyone who contributed to Operation Christmas Child," Martin said, adding that it's hard to imagine the impact that one small box full of gifts can have on a child. Thanks to her trip to Belize, she doesn't have to imagine anymore. She knows the joy that these gifts bring. She has seen first-hand how grateful the children are to receive them.

"It was really refreshing to see. The children appreciated their gifts 100 per cent."

Operation: making dreams come true

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

For years, Ellen Martin and her family have been loyal supporters of Operation Christmas Child, the project that sends gifts in shoeboxes to children in impoverished countries at Christmastime. But the Millgrove teen always wondered what it would be like to see the reaction of children in far-off countries when they got their gifts.

This past Christmas, she got a chance to see for herself just what these gifts mean to children who have so little. It's an experience she won't ever forget.

The Grade 12 Parkside High School student was part of a 100-member team of students and leaders who traveled to Belize in Central America last month.

"It was really special to be with children who appreciate what they have. They didn't have much but they were so excited to get the gifts," she said.

The shoeboxes, distributed to children between the ages of two and 14, contain a variety of items, including personal hygiene products, small toys, and school supplies, such as markers and crayons. The green and red boxes are filled every year by church groups and individuals who want children around the world to experience the joy of Christmas.

During her 10-day stay (December 12-22) in Belize, Ellen and a group of youths traveled to schools and churches to hand out the boxes. They went by bus from their base camp in Belmoban to several nearby villages, where they handed out the boxes, sang songs with the children while they waited to open their gifts and then sat back to enjoy the expressions on the children's faces.

"All the children lined up, and then were separated into age groups. Everybody had to have a box before anyone could open them," Martin explained. When the boxes were opened, the youths spent some time getting to know the children and showing them how to use some of their gifts.

Martin came home with a lasting impression about Belize and its people.

"It's a very beautiful country" with lots of eye-catching scenery, including the nearby ocean, mountains and lush landscape. "The people were amazing, so friendly. They would wave and smile at us as we went by," she recalled.

While there, Martin also helped paint a church and look after children at a doctor's clinic. There were doctors on the visiting team and they brought their medical expertise to many villages.

Martin, a member of Grindstone Valley Bible Church in Waterdown, said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip and "would love to do it again." She feels the Operation Christmas Child campaign is a worthy project, which helps reach out to the less fortunate. She is pleased to have taken an active part in it for the past several years and looks forward to helping out in future campaigns.

This past Christmas, she coordinated a shoebox drive at her Dundas high school and was a member of a local committee which entered an Operation Christmas Child float in the Flamborough Santa Claus parade. She also helped coordinate a Flamborough volunteer day at a warehouse in Cambridge where the shoeboxes were packaged and readied for shipping.

The local community was very generous, donating more than 1,000 boxes to the project. "I thank everyone who contributed to Operation Christmas Child," Martin said, adding that it's hard to imagine the impact that one small box full of gifts can have on a child. Thanks to her trip to Belize, she doesn't have to imagine anymore. She knows the joy that these gifts bring. She has seen first-hand how grateful the children are to receive them.

"It was really refreshing to see. The children appreciated their gifts 100 per cent."