Volunteerism has been a major part of one Red Deer couple’s life.
“We have volunteered to many different things over the years. From helping individuals to volunteering in our church and doing what we can there. We’ve even given ourselves to mission trips,” Don Jendrasheske said of he and his wife Wendy’s volunteering history.
“It seems that it has been a part of our lives for a long time. Some of the things we do have been recent and some have been for a long time.”
The couple recently made the trip to Calgary to inspect Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes at the headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse.
Once these boxes have been inspected, to ensure the contents of the boxes won’t scare or harm children, they are sent to children living in West Africa and Central America.
The couple has been packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for more than 10 years. This was the fourth year they volunteered at the processing centre.
Don said when they were raising their children, before he and Wendy were retired, they had little time to volunteer. They began volunteering more often when the time became available as their children grew up.
“I think it extends from family history into our lives and what we’ve been given. We have so much and others have so little. We’ve witnessed that,” he said.
The Jendrasheskes have lived in Alberta for more than 30 years – they moved to Red Deer this past July. Don, 75, worked in sales for many years and is also a former pastor. Wendy, 71, has had a number of jobs, including a cook at a bible college, a caregiver and a palliative care worker.
The two said they are always excited to send gift boxes to children in other countries around the holiday season.
“We can’t go (to these places) but we can connect with many people and places and have an affect on children, whose hearts are open and so excited to receive the things that were packed in the shoeboxes,” Don said.
Wendy added, “It’s a blessing to do this volunteering, knowing the boxes are going to kids who have often never gotten a gift.”
People are still able to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. For more information, visit packabox.samaritanspurse.ca.