Bethanie, Western Australia’s most recognised not-for-profit aged care and retirement living provider is getting into the Christmas spirit early this year as they hold ‘packing parties’ across five of their sites for Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child has been around since 1993 and is an initiative run by Samaritan’s Purse providing international relief to children in poverty, via gift filled shoeboxes. It is estimated that just one shoebox can help make a positive impact on 15 underprivileged children and their families.
This is the eighth year that residents from Bethanie will pack and send shoeboxes to children in developing countries across South East Asia and the South Pacific.
The first sites to hold their packing parties were Bethanie Peel Aged Care Home and Bethanie Peel Housing. Bethanie Peel Aged Care Home packed 50 boxes in just 17 minutes, packing for 2-4-year-old boys and finishing up with a morning tea.
Bethanie Peel Housing packed a remarkable 200 shoeboxes in just 37 minutes, packing 100 boxes for 10-14-year-old girls then breaking for morning tea and returning to finish another 100 boxes for 10-14 year old boys.
Other sites which will take part in 2019 include Bethanie Elanora Aged Care Home, Bethanie Geneff Aged Care Home and Retirement Village and Bethanie Kingsley Aged Care Home.
Bethanie Mission Manager David van Leen says, “Our collections for this wonderful cause began back in February, with sites collecting items each month. We proposed a different theme each month for example something to love, something for school, something to wear etc.”
Last year Bethanie managed to pack and send over 400 boxes, each filled with items that the children could wear or play with, as well as useful items for school, comfort and personal hygiene purposes.
David adds, “This year we are aiming for 500 boxes and all sites are very excited to get their packing parties underway. With a great start from Bethanie Peel I think we are on track to reach our target.”
All items to be included in the shoeboxes are new and have been either purchased or handmade by the residents, their families, their friends and Bethanie staff. Some of the handmade items include library bags, pencil cases, knitted teddy bears, clothing and jewellery, each created by the residents for an extra special gift.
David says, “With so many dedicated people behind this cause, Operation Christmas Child is a way to get all residents involved, including those with physical limitations.
“The residents and staff at Bethanie thoroughly enjoy taking part in such an important initiative where they are provided the opportunity to pass on items we sometimes take for granted, knowing they will make a huge impact to children in need.”