Shoeboxes filled with hope and joy by Calgarians will be delivered to needy children this Christmas living in West Africa, South and Central America.

Michael Ulrich, who has been with Samaritan’s?Purse for over a year, said he had the privilege to see the looks on kids’ faces when they received holiday care packages on a trip to Costa Rica last spring.

“The smile that come across their faces is indescribable, because these children realize that someone far away cares,” Ulrich says.

He adds that the charity is unique because of the opportunity to personalize each shoebox by adding a picture or a letter, so the child can put a face to the one that cares.

Ulrich adds that this Christmas he would like the group to pass last years’ donation total, but due to the recession, it may be difficult for people to give.

Last year, organizers from Operation Christmas Child were able to collect over 714, 000 boxes.

At, people can access a list of 20 different locations throughout Calgary where they can drop off shoeboxes.