|Herald photo by David Rossiter
Winston Churchill High School Grade 9 student Victoria Ryder has produced a whopping 55 Christmas Shoe Boxes on her own for Operation Christmas Child. This year the gift boxes will be primarily going to poor children in Latin America.
She collected more than half of her school's Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes on her own.
But if you ask Victoria Ryder, a Grade 9 student at Winston Churchill High School, the 55 she did fill still weren't enough.
"I feel actually pretty good because I know I helped a lot of people - I just wish I could have done more," Ryder said, adding her goal was 60.
"I've seen many pictures and my church goes to these places and they show us what they saw. They don't have that much and I didn't have that much growing up either. We didn't really have a Christmas. So I thought it would be nice to do for them."
Boxes from this year's Operation Christmas Child are being sent primarily to Central American countries, but also to Haiti, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
They are filled with items including toys, pencils, notebooks, soap and toothbrushes.
Ryder purchased some of the products with her own money, earned from babysitting, and asked various businesses and people for donations.
WCHS runs the program every year and students filled more than 100 boxes, including the 55 from Ryder, this year.
"It's such a good thing to be able to help people with basic needs and to just give them hope; give them a chance to know that they're cared about by someone somewhere else," said Jared Heidinger, science teacher and the school's co-ordinator for Operation Christmas Child.
Three Grade 9 English teachers also decided to start a challenge between classes at WCHS this year.
"At first we just thought we would just do two boxes per class; one boy, one girl box," said Amie Schaufele, one of the Grade 9 English teachers.
"Then we figured why not just throw it out there as a challenge and see what the Grade 9s could come up with. I'm really impressed with them. They're an awesome group of kids."
"Victoria actually didn't realize it was a challenge until after she'd gotten everything," Heidinger added.
"So that's actually extra cool."