Every Christmas, many Canadians pack a shoebox full of gifts for children in developing nations around the world. Now an effort has begun to do the same for needy members of Canada's Indigenous community.
'I Love First Peoples' is the name of a national organization formed to assist First Nations people. They run a Christmas shoebox drive so people can send small gifts as a gesture of friendship to encourage Indigenous students to continue their education.
"These are quality gifts that make a child or youth happy: finger paint, modeling clay, colouring books, stickers, ball cap, glove," outlined Crystal Day Chief of Big Valley, who is the new co-ordinator of the Central Alberta chapter.
"They go to First Nation communities throughout Canada, anywhere there's a need for them," she continued. "Siksika had a fire, right? Maybe some will go there because there's a need right now."
'I Love First Peoples' was started in Quebec in 2013. It also supports Indigenous students through awards, anti-bullying initiatives, public speaking training and micro business education.
"It is our utmost desire to see native communities flourish and to see First Nations people honoured and their culture restored," Day Chief stated. "It is our hope that Canadians will embrace the gift box and backpack initiative and that it will lead to more ways to serve native communities."
For more information on 'I Love First Peoples' and the shoebox campaign, check out their website or the Facebook page for the Central Alberta chapter.