2013-10-26 / Front Page

The Gift that Keeps Giving

Local church group supports international charity
Photos by Scot t Rawdon

Members of the First Community Church’s Joy Bible Class assembled Christmas gift boxes for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program this week. The gift boxes, which contain toys and hygiene products, are bound for poverty, disaster, and war stricken regions around the world to provide Christmas gifts for children who are very unlikely to receive presents otherwise.

First Community Church Coordinator Kellie Vaughn said her church is a community-wide collection point for Operation Christmas Child gifts; several other local organizations are participating in the program as well. The First Community Church can accept Operation Christmas Child gifts the week of Nov. 18 through Nov. 25: Nov. 18 through 22, 5 to 8 p.m.; Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Nov. 24, 1 to 4 p.m.; Nov. 25, 9 a.m. to noon.

Vaughn said the boxes would first be taken to New Song Community Church in Etna, and then to South Carolina before being shipped globally.

The world’ s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.

Since 1993, the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child expects to collect another 9.8 million shoebox gifts in 2013.

Individuals, families and groups fill empty shoeboxes with gifts of toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement. During National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25, gift-filled shoeboxes will be collected at more than 3,500 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Operation Christmas Child also offers the opportunity yearround to pack personalized shoe boxes online. Go to samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child to build a box by selecting toys and gift items, writing a note of encouragement, and “packing” them in a shoebox.

After the boxes are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers across the United States—Atlanta; Boone, N.C.; Charlotte; Dallas; Denver; Honolulu; Minneapolis; and Orange County, Calif.— Samaritan’s Purse and its partners will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Donors can find out the country where their shoebox gifts are delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org. Click on Support and Follow Your Box.

Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are collected in the United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with over 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts. Visit HYPERLINK " http:// www.samaritanspurse.org" www.samaritanspurse.org for more information.

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