Page 3416 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Operation Christmas Child
MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.38): I rise this evening to speak about an excellent project of Samaritan’s Purse called Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful project that brings so much happiness to people all over the world. In a nutshell, it involves the donation of a shoe box filled with presents for a child that might otherwise not be able to celebrate Christmas.
The shoe-boxed size gift should be packed to include the following: something to love, like a teddy or a doll; something for school, like pens, pencils, or paper; something to wear, like a T-shirt, shorts or a hat; something to play with, like a tennis ball or toy cars; something for personal hygiene, like soap and a face washer; something special, like a carry bag or sunglasses. Through the project, you are able to give a very personal gift to a child that might otherwise receive nothing this Christmas.
I had the pleasure of launching the 2009 Canberra appeal on 30 June this year. When launching the appeal, I mentioned that these days, with so many charities needing our time and money, it is easy to get confused and lose track of all the good work done in our community and further afield. However, I think Operation Christmas Child has real cut-through due to the unique way that we in Canberra, or people anywhere, can give time, energy, thought and a tangible gift to a child thousands of kilometres away.
The project started almost 20 years ago and has gone from strength to strength all over the world. To date, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been delivered to children in 135 countries. In an exciting development for 2009, people that register their box online can track where in the world their box is sent. This adds yet another personal element to what is already a very special gift. The project is made possible by the many volunteers that assist with distribution of the boxes, collection, processing, logistics, promotion and many other components of the exercise.
Last year, in our region alone, more than 22,000 shoe boxes were collected. I am sure all in this place would agree that that is an amazing feat—22,000 boxes. This year, I hope our region can do better and we in the Assembly can make a sizeable contribution. I have got many empty boxes in my office ready for the taking by members and their staff, and I will happily coordinate the collection of the full boxes. Members should return the boxes early in October. I have brochures and can help out with any questions you might have. In October, all those people that contribute to the appeal will be invited to take part in a media event here at the Legislative Assembly, where we will hand over the boxes to Samaritan’s Purse.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the schools, churches, community groups, companies and individuals that give so generously. I would also like to put on the record my sincere thanks to Ann Prunty, who is the ACT and southern New South Wales manager of Samaritan’s Purse. She is the driving force behind Operation Christmas Child in our region and does a wonderful job. I would also like to thank and congratulate the national manager of Operation Christmas Child, Ian McDougall, for the great work he does.