Veronica Ohl has put together more than 400 boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Veronica Ohl has put together more than 400 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Andrew Morgan

Shoebox gifts bring joy to kids in need

VERONICA Ohl has the ultimate children's goods collection. From toys, crafts, clothes and teddy bears - she has the lot.

But these toys are not for any child she knows - they are donated to the Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection.

This year she has donated 420 boxes to children in South-East Asia.

Ms Ohl has participated in the collection for the past 20 years.

"I started when my children were young because I wanted to teach them how to give," she said.

Each shoebox is worth $30, which includes $9 for postage.

She shops all year round for the best buys. There is even a small collection of presents for next year's shoeboxes.

"I am continuously shopping; whenever I see something on sale I'll grab it," Ms Ohl said.

But the boxes aren't filled without a little help from friends.

"After Christmas I was in Big W and the lady was marking things down ... I was quietly following her around," she said.

"Towards the end of it she said 'why are you doing this?'.

"I went back a third day and she had a big bag of things she bought to give to me."

Ms Ohl encouraged people to take part in Operation Christmas Child.

"If every family in Australia sent a shoebox, it would make a huge difference," she said.

"I just feel that I've made all these kids happy. I might not have changed their lives but I've made them happy for a while."

What goes in a shoebox?

  • Something to love
  • Something special
  • Something for school
  • Something to play with
  • Something to wear
  • Something for personal hygiene