For over 30 years, Samaritan's Purse has been collecting shoe boxes full of gifts.

The gift filled boxes are then donated around the world to children who are in need.

"So, here's what happens. Generous Canadians across the country pack shoe boxes full of hygiene items, toys, and school supplies, and they drop them off at one of hundreds of drop off locations in every province and almost every territory," explains the News Media Relations Manager for Samaritan's Purse Canada Frank King. "From there they are shipped to our processing center in Calgary, where thousands of volunteers inspect every shoe box to make sure there is nothing inside that could scare or harm a child or stop the shoe boxes from getting through customs."

From there, the shoe boxes are shipped to wherever they are needed around the world.

"In many cases these will have been the very first gifts these children will have ever received," King says.

Boss says that these shoe boxes are also a way to help kids realize that Christmas isn't only about them.

"In Canada, it's a great tool for parents to remind their children that Christmas isn't just about them getting gifts," Boss explains. "It's about them helping out folks who don't get gifts like they do. And so, for a lot of kids, it becomes very exciting to figure out 'What am I going to put in the box for this boy who's just like me in this other country.'"

Despite whatever troubles children worldwide are experience, Boss says that Operation Shoe Box helps to remind them that people are thinking of them.

Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, when the Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham was asked to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children living in a war-torn Bosnia.

Since then, over 220 million shoe boxes full of gifts have been delivered to children in over 170 countries and territories.

Last year, Canadians packed 425,209 boxes, with Albertans packing 88,639 of those.

People in Cochrane accounted for 543 of those boxes, while residents of Strathmore packed 848, and 747 boxes came from High River.

Okotoks residents contributed a whopping 1,126 boxes.

For those who don't want to wait until the drop off locations are re-opened in November, Samaritan's Purse has setup a way for people to pack a box full of gifts year-round.

Visit to Pack a Shoebox Online.

Those who wish to volunteer with Samaritan Purse, go to their website for more details.