Local church is looking to give back to children in need

Operation Christmas Child Now Officially Underway

"The ministry is all about Jesus", she said. "It is because of his love that we are doing this".

Children might share items they had multiples of, like pencils or paper.

"It's not just the only holiday present some of these kids will get - it's the only present some of these kids will get", said O'Connor.

Parker-Moore said what is truly awesome is that it's the little things that can be found in the box, like a toothbrush or a wash cloth, that these children really cherish. I think about how our fingerprints cover these boxes and our prayers are spoken over these gifts.

During the project's National Collection Week Nov. 13-20, Artesia residents will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items, and fun toys.

The program, which was started by the charity Samaritan's Purse in 1993, collects shoe boxes full of small gifts to send overseas. "There are drop off locations all over the U.S".

Last year, more than 11,400 boxes were collected in Bladen County, adding to the more than 11 million collected throughout the world.

The Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church expects to see more shoebox donations in the central Okanagan this year, with as many as 6,000 boxes coming in by the end of this week alone.

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Additional drop-off locations can be found at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations/.

As for this year, the local organizers are hoping to get 25,000 gift-filled boxes to help reach the 12 million shoe-box goal set by Operation Christmas Child.

Huerta said she would encourage students of all ages to get involved. A suggested $9 donation covers shipping costs but is not required.

Each box is labeled for either a boy or a girl, with an age range clearly noted - child ages 2-4, child ages 5-9 or a child ages 10-14. You may also enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself, your family, or group. "We believe that God knows the child you are packing for".

"It can be war-related, natural disasters, poverty", said Florey.

Shannon said people have until November 20 to donate.

The Panhandle alone will collect close to 20,000 boxes.

"I was in the service, so there's always a competitive nature there", Robert Johnson said.

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