WHEN Sharna Mills' kids came home from school excited about a new project, she said it was the beginning of something very special.
What started as her kids' school project, ended with Mrs Mills helping to send almost 2000 gift-filled shoe boxes to children in countries including Vietnam, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
This year was the first Mrs Mills became involved in the Operation Christmas Child, which aims to send Christmas shoe boxes to 60,000 children in third-world countries.
Mrs Mills said her son Braydon, 10, put a shoebox together in class, and he was so passionate about the cause she couldn't help but get involved.
"He'd come home and talk about it, it was really really nice," she said.
"He and his brothers even put their own pocket money towards it."
When packing boxes in a Brisbane warehouse at the weekend, Mrs Mills said the weight of the operation really hit home.
"I was holding back tears, people packed the most wonderful things," she said.
"You really see love in a box."
Although this was her first year with the operation, she said there would be many more to come and was thankful to her son's teacher Naomi for introducing the project to both her and the kids.
St John's teacher Naomi Kotzur said the project had become "a bit of a tradition" at the school.
"The kids really look forward to it each year, they're always excited to do it," Ms Kotzur said.
She said the project gave kids the opportunity to help children less fortunate than themselves.
"I think it's important to make kids sensitive to the needs of others," she said.
"I like to build a good relationship with my kids and see the ripple effect."
She said the school made 324 shoeboxes this year and hoped momentum would continue to build in coming years.
To help with next year's Operation Christmas Child or projects throughout the year, you can email Naomi at email@example.com.
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