Collection week is over and Operation Christmas Child organizers want to thank the community for a total of 2,132 shoeboxes collected in Warren County.
First United Methodist Church took the reins of the local project this year with administrative assistant Debbie Patterson spearheading efforts.
“The opportunity to serve as the coordinator has truly been a wonderful and blessed experience,” said Patterson. “People have been coming up to me when I’m out in the community and thanking us for continuing this ministry.”
Operation Christmas Child, a product of Samaritan’s Purse, offers participants a chance to fill empty shoeboxes with items for children suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, famine, and poverty. The shoeboxes are then delivered to children worldwide.
Patterson says plans for next year include promoting the project all year long.
“It will start with our church going to collect a different item each month and include a packing party next year for the whole church,” Patterson said. “We would like to ask other churches and individuals to do the same thing.”
Any business that would like to donate items for next year’s shoeboxes can do so at 200 W. Main Street. Items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, hair brushes and combs, sunglasses, flip flops, flashlights, batteries, school supplies, small stuffed animals and dolls, etc.
For families who haven’t yet packed their gift of hope for this year, it’s not too late. Samaritan’s Purse is offering “Build a Box,” an online giving tool that allows families to virtually pack a shoebox on the organization’s Web site at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
The program allows individuals to select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, “pack” them in an empty shoebox, and finish it off with a note of encouragement. Through tracking technology, donors can follow the box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. It uses simple gift-filled shoeboxes to let hurting children know they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the simple shoebox will be the first gift they have ever received.
Since 1993, the organization has hand-delivered more than 86 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in more than 130 countries.
For more information on how to participate locally in Operation Christmas Child, call Patterson at 473-4419.