This week, 13,500 shoeboxes will be filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement as part of Operation Christmas Child, a project of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. The effort will deliver the shoeboxes with gifts within to children in need overseas.
Russellville area residents, along with local churches are giving back by packing these gifts for children around the world living in extreme poverty or who have been affected by war, disease and natural disaster. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
“We have so much to be thankful for here in America. Most of us have a roof over our heads, beds with pillows to sleep on, and food on our table. But for many children living overseas, tough living conditions and extreme poverty have left them with little hope,” said Operation Christmas Child Regional Director Amy Johnson. “It is amazing to see the joy on children’s faces when they receive these gifts. It can be a tangible reminder that they are loved and not forgotten, despite their difficult circumstances.”
According to organizers, after being dropped off at a local collection site, these boxes will make the long journey overseas, traveling by any means necessary—boat, plane, train and even elephant—until they reach the hands of children in need. In 2015, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach more than 11 million children. Since 1993, the project has delivered shoebox gifts to more than 124 million children in over 150 countries and territories.
It’s not too late to get involved, and anyone can participate in this life-changing project for children around the world. Although this week is National Collection Week, shoebox gifts are collected year-round at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
With a computer or mobile device, anyone can conveniently pack a personalized Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift on the Samaritan’s Purse website. These gifts of hope will go to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries. Go online to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement and “pack” them in a shoebox.
Participants can follow their box online to discover where in the world their gift is delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (615) 678-6200 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.
You can also visit samaritanspurse.org/occ to find sites that will serve as collection points in your area.
To contact Chris Cooper, emailo [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.