On Saturday, Nov. 23, the East St. Paul Dynamite U10 novice ringette team got together away from the arena to make sure children in less fortunate areas of the world got a chance to celebrate Christmas.
The team of 11 eight- and nine-year-old girls gathered together to pack shoeboxes full of gifts and surprises. The shoeboxes were part of Operation Christmas Child program run by Samaritan’s Purse, which collects these special shoeboxes and distributes them in areas of the world where children may not get the joys of Christmas and may not even have heard of ringette.
Packing shoeboxes meant that each girl on the Dynamite team was responsible for supplying the contents for putting the shoeboxes together. They all carefully chose their gifts and meticulously packed their shoeboxes. Some of the girls organized the gifts to make sure that each box was perfect; others tied ribbons on every box to ensure the contents stayed secure, and others organized the finished boxes.
It was a joy to behold all these girls having so much fun helping others. The gifts were plentiful and so was the laughter. Their smiles and giggles would have made anyone think they were packing their own gifts but not once did they focus on themselves.
At first the girls were a little shocked to hear that the children who receive these boxes will not get other gifts for Christmas.
They struggled with that idea for a moment but then realized that they could make their boxes special. So they got together for a team picture and included it inside each box. They wanted to make sure that the recipients knew that these were gifts packed with care by children from the other side of the world.
Such a tiny team — just 11 eight- and nine-year-old girls — but such a huge gift. They were able to pack 25 shoeboxes that day — more than twice their number — and they had a blast doing it.
Way to go East St. Paul Dynamite!
Suzanne Dyck is a community correspondent for River East.