Verda First Baptist Church and Lynch Church of God will serve as collection sites in Harlan County for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox project through Samaritan’s Purse. National Collection Week is Nov. 16-23.
The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world.
Local churches, civic groups and individuals can bring their shoeboxes to the following sites:
• Verda First Baptist Church (326 KY 1601, Evarts) will take boxes Nov. 19, from 4-7 p.m.; Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to noon and 4-8 p.m.; Nov. 21, 1-6 p.m.; Nov. 22, 4-7 p.m.; and Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Lynch Church of God (547 East Main Street, Lynch) will take boxes Nov. 19, from 4-8 p.m.; Nov. 20, 4-8 p.m.; Nov. 21, 2-8 p.m.; Nov. 22, 1-5 p.m.; and Nov. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During National Collection Week, Samaritan’s Purse will collect shoeboxes at more than 4,000 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Since the early 1990s, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 113 million shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children through the Operation Christmas Child project.
Shoebox gifts are prepared for overseas shipment at nine major processing centers across the United States — Atlanta, Baltimore, Boone, N.C., Charlotte; Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Minneapolis and Southern California. Shoebox gifts are collected in the United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts. Samaritan’s Purse will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.
How to pack a shoebox:
• Find a shoebox. Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately.
• Girl or boy. Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
• Fill with gifts: Select a quality “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal. Then add other fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies. Do not include used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
• Personalize. You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.
• Tracking. Donate $7 online and receive a tracking label to “Follow Your Box” and discover the destination of your shoebox gift.
You can join in on the fun too. Share a photo of you with your shoebox on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and tell why you love packing using the hashtag #ipackedashoebox.
You can still help even if you don’t have time. With a few clicks of your mouse or swipes on your touchscreen, you can build a shoebox online. Make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, and then add a personal letter and photo. Samaritan’s Purse will pack a shoebox and send it for you, for a suggested donation of just $25. You can even challenge friends so they can join. Or, you can purchase a gift card so they can build a shoebox online themselves.
For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/.occ.