Imagine the look of joy on the face of a needy child opening a shoebox filled with toys, school supplies and notes of encouragement on Christmas morning. Helena-West Helena individuals, churches and other groups will be working to make Christmas a reality for needy children around the world through Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind says Mark Mize, media associate for Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.
Helena-West Helena residents are preparing to collect 400 gift-filled shoeboxes during the campaign's National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25. The Helena-West Helena collection site will be located at Faith Outreach Church at 1430 Springdale Road.
Operating hours at the site will be Monday, Nov. 18, 8 a.m. to noon; Tuesday, Nov. 19, 3 to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 20, 3 to 7 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 21, 3 to 5 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 22, 3 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 23, 1 to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 to 3 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“At this Helena-West Helena collection site, anyone can drop off a shoebox loaded with gifts to send to a child overseas,” stated Mize in a press release. “Then using whatever means necessary – trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants – the shoeboxes will be delivered to children worldwide. For many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received.”
Despite the fact the shoeboxes may travel thousands of miles, participants have the opportunity to follow their box by using a donation form found at samaritanspurse.org reported Mize. Donors will receive an email telling them to which country their shoebox was delivered.
Entering its 20th year, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoeboxes full of gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993, stated Mize.
“Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013,” said Mize.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 615-778-0046 or visit samaritanspurse.org. Though the national collection week for the shoeboxes is Nov. 18-25, they are collected all year at Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
Participants can also build a box through an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send a gift to a child in even the hardest-to-reach countries.