With thousands of shoe box gifts already collected this year, the Samaritan's Purse project expects to reach a milestone - collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since 1993. There are 14,628 gift filled shoe boxes already collected by the Elkins Area Operation Christmas Child team which includes drop off location in Randolph, Tucker, Barbour, Upshur, Pocahontas and Webster counties.
Hundreds of volunteers have worked to spread Christmas cheer at several collection sites where shoe boxes packed with school supplies, toys and necessity items were dropped off by residents last week. Although National Collection Week has ended, it's not too late for participants of Operation Christmas Child to fill shoe boxes online with items for hurting kids overseas.
Many local families are choosing to pack shoe box gifts virtually through "Build a Box." By visiting the project's website at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ, here is how you can get involved: select a child's age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, virtually "pack" them in an empty shoe box, and finish it off by writing a note of encouragement
Then, through tracking technology, donors can "follow" the box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has collected more than 94 million shoe box gifts and hand-delivered them to suffering children in more than 130 countries. This year, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another nine million gift-filled shoe boxes and surpass the 100 million milestone. Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, these young survivors of natural disaster, war, famine and poverty learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the simple shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 304-636-6367 or 304-636-0159 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.