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Hundreds of shoeboxes have already been given
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It’s collection week for Operation Christmas Child. Shoeboxes are being accepted at First United Methodist Church through Monday.
“We had a pre-week last week and 483 boxes were turned in,” said Debra Young, co-organizer of the program with Debbie Patterson.
“I think we’ve had 55 today so far,” she said Monday. “It has been a rainy day so people are probably holding off until the rain quits.”
Her prediction was right. On Tuesday morning First Baptist Church dropped off 344 shoeboxes.
“We do a four-week program at the church,” said Jodie Greer, Operation Christmas Child program organizer at First Baptist Church.
As the shoeboxes were counted, Greer added “We don’t set a goal. We would rather focus on the importance of giving. We get our children’s church involved as well, so they can learn the importance of giving.”
 The community goal for this year is 2,604 shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child, a product of Samaritan’s Purse, collects the shoeboxes and distributes them to disadvantaged children around the world.
Young says heart-warming stories are coming in with the boxes.
“One lady, unfortunately, was unable to have children on her own,” said Young. “In the 1990s, she applied for an adoption. It was near the holiday season and she could not fathom her child being in another country without getting a gift. She started donating shoeboxes hoping her child would received a gift.”
The adoption was eventually successful, as well as a second child. However, the woman and her mother continue to collect items and make shoebox donations to Operation Christmas Child.
If you would like to prepare a shoebox, a standard size box will do or you can use a small plastic container. Wrap the box lid separately, but wrapping is not required. Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl. Age categories are: 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14.
Then fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Please include a donation of $7 or more for each shoebox prepared to help cover shipping and other project costs. Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox before dropping it off at First United Methodist.
Suggested items include small cars, balls, dolls, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, Slinky, toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap in a plastic bag, comb, washcloth, hard candy, T-shirts, socks, ball caps, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, and flashlights with extra batteries.
School items — pens, pencils, sharpeners, crayons – can also be included.
Do not include used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures, chocolate, food, out-of-date candy, liquids or lotions, medication or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers, aerosol cans, or items not appropriate for children.
Shoeboxes will be accepted today until 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday from 8 to 10 a.m.