Calgary, AB,

Police conducting multiple searches...of shoeboxes

Almost 35 police officers will be entering a warehouse today in northeast Calgary to search hundreds of green and red shoeboxes destined for export. They will be looking for a variety of contraband items in the boxes, including candy, playing cards and toothpaste.

However, it is expected that no charges will be laid as a result of this search since it is all in the name of charity.

The officers will be volunteering at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Centre to help prepare donated shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies for children in the developing world. It is something officers and civilian staff from the Calgary Police Service have done for several years now and, in addition to working in the processing centre, Service members and their families typically pack and donate over 500 shoeboxes of their own each year.

In the last two years, a handful of officers have gone even a step further and helped distribute the shoeboxes alongside Costa Rican police officers. The annual trip is aimed at trading expertise with police in Costa Rica and learning about the culture of that country.

“It is incredible to see how happy kids get when they open a shoebox full of gifts from a total stranger,” says Cst. Garry Woods, a member of the Calgary Police Service’s Diversity Resource Team who has been on the trip both years. “It is important for police to have positive interactions with the people they serve, and the shoebox distributions I’ve been a part of are a great way for the local police to connect with children. It was a really neat experience.”

Operation Christmas Child is a program run by Samaritan’s Purse Canada. The program opens doors for the organization to provide children, families and communities with access to clean water, food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance and more. The shoeboxes transcend all barriers—language, religion, culture, geography and politics—to give joy and hope to hurting children.

"We are always very grateful for the selfless contributions of the Calgary Police Service,” says Fred Weiss, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse Canada. “Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of children who may have never received a gift before getting an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.”

The Service has supported Operation Christmas Child for several years, and shoebox donations are one of the many initiatives that officers and civilian staff are excited to support throughout the year.

Even though National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child has passed, Canadians can still pack shoeboxes online, and can even add an optional personal note and photo. Visit and follow the easy directions.