A group of restaurants in Winnipeg are overflowing with gifts for kids around the world this week, and you could join in making a difference with them.

Valerie Funk is a co-owner of six Smitty's Family Restaurants in the Winnipeg area, and they have decided once again to partner with CHVN and Operation Christmas Child. Funk says it's an easy decision after witnessing first-hand what takes place in young kids' lives when they get an OCC shoebox.

"For myself, it's a very personal thing," Funk says, after travelling with Samaritan's Purse to hand out OCC shoeboxes. "I was in the Philippines and I saw I saw the kids with their bosses and how precious it was for them and how they hang on to whatever they receive." 

Some people may view the shoeboxes as simple gestures filled with knick-knacks.

To the kids that receive them, they're more like little treasure chests.

"They value them so much," Funk says. "It really had a big impact on me personally."

Simple gestures can make a world of difference. 

Funk says she realizes that she is blessed, and knows that many of us are. "I think we can just continue to share that love, and share all the abundance that we have here and that we often take for granted."

Smitty's drop-off locations

If you need an empty box you can stop by Funk's restaurants to pick some up. Once your boxes are full you can also drop them off there once again. 

While not every Smitty's in the city is a pick-up/dropoff location, many of them are.

  • Kenaston (1629 Kenaston Blvd.)
  • St. James (1017 St. James St.)
  • Garden City (2305 McPhillips St.)
  • Henderson Highway (1919 Henderson Hwy.)
  • Regent (1512 Regent Ave. W.)