With thousands of shoe box gifts already collected in Billings, area residents are encouraged to continue packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child through “Build a Box,” an online giving tool. This year, the Samaritan’s Purse project expects to reach a milestone — collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since 1993.
Hundreds of volunteers have worked to spread Christmas cheer at Juneau-area collection sites where more than 2,100 shoe boxes packed with school supplies, toys and necessity items were dropped off by residents last week. Although National Collection Week is wrapping up, it’s not too late for participants of Operation Christmas Child to fill shoe boxes online with items for kids overseas.
Many local families are choosing to pack shoe box gifts virtually through “Build a Box.” By visiting the project’s website at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. Donors can select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, virtually “pack” them in an empty shoe box, and finish it off by writing a note of encouragement. Then, through tracking technology, donors can “follow” the box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has collected more than 94 million shoe box gifts and hand-delivered them to suffering children in more than 130 countries. This year, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes to surpass the 100 million milestone.
“Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, these young survivors of natural disaster, war, famine and poverty learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the simple shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.” Samaritan’s Purse representatives have said.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (253) 572-1155 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ .