Wednesday 02 October 2013 by By Jill Sikkens

I know we haven’t even had Halloween yet (or Canadian thanksgiving for those of you celebrating it) but I can’t help being extra excited about Christmas this year. Through a complete twist of fate, I am organising the Rotary Shoebox ( campaign at my son’s school. I originally approached the school to do if for his class and somehow the entire school , more than 500 children, are now taking part.

The concept, started my a retired school teacher, is incredibly simple. Fill an empty shoebox with toys, clothes and other household items, collect them and delivery them to orphanages in Romania in time for Christmas. Watching the video of those children receiving their gifts- for some of them the first one they have ever received- is absolutely magical.

But, watching your own child pick toys, mittens and treats for a child they don’t know but they understand is less fortunately than they are, is also very moving. My own four year old, of course noted things he hopes Santa brings but didn’t actually ask for one thing for himself. It was amazing to see him really pick which colour mittens he thought the little boy would like and to make sure I got the Buzz Lightyear hat, not Woody. It’s been a year of growing up but I was completely amazed to see him take the job of picking the items so seriously. He was so proud- almost as much as I was.

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