Shoebox gifts go to students for Christmas

Christmas is the time for giving, and every year, Metis Nation Columbia River Society (MNCRS) encourages children and adults to fill shoeboxes to donate to youth in need.

Last year, MNCRS filled shoeboxes and delivered them to a few First Nations communities. They were filled with goodies of all kinds, from toys to craft supplies, and beyond. The students who received them were very grateful, and loved everything they received, said Davene Dunn. They also sent letters of thanks to the students who sent them.

After the donations were collected last year, Dunn noticed that there were less boxes for boys than there were for girls. This could be because girls are easier to buy for, she said. So this year, MNCRS is taking a slightly different approach, and hopes that everyone who is filling shoeboxes can ensure either boys or girls would like the items inside.

“I thought, ‘geeze, that’s going to be kind of hard,’ but as I went shopping and I got looking around and thinking, boy that’s a lot of things that you can put in a box,” Dunn said to students at Nicholson Elementary School last week.

Some of the boxes she filled took on themes. She filled a box full of cooking items, with oven mitts, sprinkles, and cookie mixes, and another science themed box with dinosaur eggs and growing capsules that go in water. Another box has toques and mitts, and another one had a soccer ball with the air taken out of it, because all different kinds of youth enjoy playing sports and games.

“So, it has to be a box that if a boy got it, he would like it, and if a girl got it, she would like it,” she said. “Sometimes, if you go with a theme it can be a bit easier.”

Dunn said that if people purchase hygiene products for the kids, they will be taken out of the box and used separately. Although the items are useful, those types of things will go directly to kids who need it most.

“It’s good that you put it in, because we’re going to take it out and put it in a special box,” Dunn said. “They make little kits and they give them to the teachers. Some children don’t have toothbrushes or things like that up there, and they’re going to give them to the kids that need it.”

The students at Nicholson Elementary School learned all about what life is like for First Nations in northern areas on Wednesday morning. Dunn read letters from other students that they wrote after receiving their shoebox gifts, and explained why the MNCRS does the project. Students at Nicholson Elementary will put together shoeboxes to give to their northern peers near Christmas.

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