JUNEAU - Local kids can help needy boys and girls around the world have a merrier holiday season. Sending hope in a shoebox to hurting children worldwide is a simple but powerful way to brighten millions of lives in more than 100 countries and that requires the contagious compassion of Juneau families.
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In Southeast Alaska, more than 2,500 shoe boxes were filled last year. Shoe boxes can be dropped off from Nov. 12-19 at Chapel by the Lake.
"The huge smiles of children who were receiving their first doll or toy car made me aware of how a little can mean so much to others," Southeast coordinator Justine Emerson said. "It's also a wonderful way to teach children about the importance of helping others in need."
Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, is calling on Juneau kids, families, churches, businesses, schools, scout troops and civic organizations to join this massive effort to bring joy to children overseas suffering from disease, famine, war, terrorism and natural disaster, through shoe box gifts.
Emerson remembers the look on kid's faces when she traveled to Russia to help deliver boxes.
"It's a great family experience. Packing the shoe box gifts is really fun and easy. We also have the joy of knowing that what we're doing will have a very real positive impact," said Juneau resident Pamela Finney, who with her husband has been packing shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child for the past five years.
Recommended gifts are small toys, stuffed animals, T-shirts, baseball caps, balls, dolls, postcards of Southeast Alaska, flashlights with extra batteries, school supplies and paper, hard candy, hygiene items such as toothbrush and paste, comb and washcloth.
For details or to download the necessary brochures, visit www.samaritanspurse.org. Brochures are also available at Hearthside Books and Udder Culture. Samaritan's Purse national partners will hand-deliver the shoe box gifts to more than 8 million children in some 100 countries.