|Shoeboxes aid yearly 'Operation Christmas Child'|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Friday, 15 November 2013 11:07|
Beginning Monday, area individuals, families and groups are joining millions of people across the United States to fill empty shoeboxes with gifts for 9.8 million suffering children around the world.
During Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week (Monday through Nov. 25) there will be three collection sites in the Bowling Green area for the effort. Activity will focus on the children as 23,800 colorfully wrapped shoebox gifts are dropped off by residents. Hundreds of local volunteers will be working hard to pack and transport the boxes to the next stop on their journey to a child in need.
The shoebox gifts are then processed, prepared and delivered to suffering children in more than 100 countries using whatever means necessary including, but not limited to trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind. Through simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received.
"It's amazing to think that small items we often take for granted in the U.S.-soap, a toothbrush and pencils-can bring excitement and hope to a child living in extreme poverty overseas," said Bonnie Freeman, Regional Director for the Great Lakes Area. "This simple shoebox gift is an opportunity to change a child's life."
The collection centers include:
• Dayspring Assembly of God, 17360 N Dixie Highway, Bowling Green.
Operating Hours: Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.; Nov. 23, 10 a.m. - noon; Nov. 24, 1 - 3 p.m.; and Nov. 25, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
• Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 220 Cedar St., Pemberville.
Operating Hours: Monday through next Friday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.; and Nov. 23 - 25, 9 to 11 a.m.
• Waterville United Methodist Church, 102 N. Fifth St., Waterville.
Operating Hours: Monday 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Nov. 24, 5 - 8 p.m.; Wednesday 4 - 7 p.m.; Nov 22, 1 - 4 p.m.; Nov 23, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Nov. 25, 10 a.m. - noon.
To find the nearest drop-off site, call 1-800-567-8580 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected more than 100 million shoebox gifts and delivered them to needy children.
Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. The time to pack a shoebox gift is now.
A year-round, online giving tool also conveniently allows anyone to build a box. By visiting the project's website at samaritanspurse.org, participants can select a child's age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, virtually "pack" an empty shoebox, and finish it off by writing a note of encouragement. Operation Christmas Child volunteers will pack the shoebox gifts and ship them on behalf of the donors.
Using special tracking technology, participants can also "follow" their shoebox and discover the country in which their gift will be delivered to a child in need. To register a shoebox gift, use the donation form online.
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