Volunteers set to celebrate Operation Christmas Child

On Saturday, volunteers, individuals, area civic groups and church groups will gather at the Faith Mission Church in Wardensville to celebrate the estimated 20,000 gift-filled shoeboxes to be packed by local residents for needy kids overseas this Christmas.

People from seven area counties – Hardy, Hampshire, Grant, Pendleton, Mineral and Allegheny and Grant counties in Maryland – will be among those taking part from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

There are 12 area locations within those seven counties where donors can drop off shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies and hygiene items from Nov. 17-24. These relay collection centers are the first stop on a journey across the world for thousands of gifts packed by local residents. The boxes are then processed, prepared and delivered to hurting children overseas using whatever means necessary – boats, airplanes, trains and even elephants.

The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.

Since 1993, the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.

Individuals, families and groups fill empty shoeboxes with gifts of toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child also offers the opportunity year-round to pack personalized shoe boxes online. Go to samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child to build a box by selecting toys and gift items, writing a note of encouragement, and “packing” them in a shoebox.

After the boxes are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers across the United States-Atlanta; Boone, N.C.; Charlotte; Dallas; Denver; Honolulu; Minneapolis; and Orange County, Calif.-Samaritan’s Purse and its partners will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Donors can find out the country where their shoebox gifts are delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org. Click on Support and Follow Your Box.

Operation Christmas Child 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 than100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to find the nearest drop-off site, contact me at 304-261-2114 or by email at occlacindy@gmail.com or visit samaritanspurse.org.