CRWRC Distributes 5,000 Christmas Gifts in Romania
“The Lord is with me; I am blessed! And I am blessed to be a blessing.” These were the comments of CRWRC intern, Sharon Bemis, after she had the opportunity to distribute more than 5,000 Christmas boxes to children in Romania in December.
Each box contained toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and a Bible and was put together by caring Christians across Canada as part of the annual Kits4Kids campaign sponsored by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), The Bible League, Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund and Kingdom Children (formerly known as the Romanian Orphan’s Fund).
“The children were thrilled to receive them,” reported Bemis.
Since 1997, Christians in Canada and Romania have been working together to show Christ’s love to Romanian children. Part of this ministry includes the Kits4Kids project, where churches and individuals in Canada are encouraged to fill a shoebox with a specific list of gifts and send them to the Christian Reformed Church office in Burlington, Ontario.
“While this type of gift program is a lot of work and requires quite a bit of money to carry out, we’ve found that it is a great way for Canadian and Romanian Christians to celebrate the Christmas spirit together,” said CRWRC staff member Henrietta Hunse. “It is an opportunity for children here to give a practical Christmas gift to children overseas. And we always make sure that families who receive the gifts are connected to other on-going programs throughout the year.”
In 2006, the boxes arrived at CRWRC in record numbers. Volunteers worked in CRWRC’s warehouse to sort through the boxes, mark them with an age and gender, and then re-package them for shipping. By the end of October, they had collected and packaged 5,085 boxes onto skids.
The boxes were shipped to Romania and arrived in Constata, Romania the week before Christmas. CRWRC-Romania staff then spent a few very hectic days filling out paperwork and meeting with officials in order to get the items through customs. Once the boxes were cleared, CRWRC staff brought the items to Bucharest and arranged for various churches and community organizations to pick up the boxes for distribution to at-risk children.
Bemis and other CRWRC-Romania staff also had the chance to personally deliver some of the boxes to children who attend a school for those with speech and hearing disabilities.
“The kids were so excited!” explained Bemis. “They were supposed to wait until they got home before opening the boxes, but a few of the kids opened them there and showed off their presents to everyone around.”
Kick-off for the 2007 Kits4Kids project will take place in Canada in August.