Operation Christmas Child and its iconic red and green shoeboxes are back and ready to be packed until November 22nd.

Boxes can be picked up and droppoed off at Kelly O’Bryans, Value Village, The Keg, Greyhound Bus Station, Hartland Baptist Church, Overhang Climbing, Dollar Tree, the Hart Dollar Store, and Madison Ave Fashions.

Prince George sent away an even 2300 boxes in 2013, but that number jumped to 2730 last year.

Now, Regional Logistics Coordinator Alana Bull says the aim is even higher.

“This year our goal is to do 3500,” explains Bull, “I think it’s really important for these kids to know that people love them from other parts of the world as well, that we care about them, and that they’re important to us. This may be the first time many of them have received gifts in their entire life, so they get these gifts and hold onto them for the rest of their lives… it always means something to them.”

Operation Christmas Child’s governing body, Samaritan’s Purse, is also putting out the call for 20,000 additional boxes to aid children in Ukraine.

A special blue and yellow is label is available to be added on to designated boxes, and people are encouraged to pack for children living in colder climates.

“Scarves and mittens are really good, and everybody always loves toques.”

Warm items aside, there are other regulations the boxes need to follow.

“It’s similar to plane rules,” Bull notes, “No liquids or anything like that could spill or melt, so no chocolates either. We’re mostly looking for hygiene items, individually wrapped soaps, facecloths, sunglasses, small toys like bouncy balls and dolls… But no war themed toys, as many of these children live in war-stricken countries.”

Picking up a shoebox and packing it to the brim is viewed as a Christmas tradition by many, and Bull says children themselves are often the most enthusiastic.

“My kids love doing it… We see a lot of kids. They’re always excited and every single year they ask when the boxes are coming out and how they can help… It’s wonderful.”

The deadline to hand boxes in is November 22nd.