Christmas will be made much brighter this year for children around the world, thanks to donations made by teams participating in the Eckville Eagles Novice hockey tournament last month.
Together, the eight teams filled 68 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, which distributes them to needy youths around the world.
Sylvan Lake All About Bouncing Novice 3 Lakers were awarded pizzas for donating the highest amount of shoeboxes, with a total of 19.
“Families were more than happy to help out, and they had lots of fun doing it,” said team manager Corrine Olineck. “Hopefully they’ll keep doing it in years to come.”
More than one shoebox was received for each of the team’s 16 players, with some families donating several.
Olineck said donating not only gave players and their families the chance to improve Christmas for children in need, but also taught them valuable lessons about giving.
“They learned that it’s not all about them, and that it’s good to help other kids around the world.”
Each year, organizers of the tournament choose a different charity to receive donations from participating teams. The food bank is often chosen, but organizers were told this year that it is already currently well stocked.
Tournament coordinator Anna Henkelman felt it was the “perfect time of year” for donations to be made to Operation Christmas Child, and she was happy with the amount of donations received.
“It was pretty exciting to see all these boxes coming in the door,” she said. “We were very pleased with the results.”
Donations of $7 were received along with the shoeboxes. That’s the amount required to cover the cost of shipping them overseas