Weatherford Democrat

November 17, 2013

Local families help give needy kids reason to smile through Operation Christmas Child


Weatherford Democrat

— This holiday season, Weatherford residents are joining millions of people across the U.S. and around the world to fill empty shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for 9.8 million impoverished children.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25, North Side Baptist Church, 910 N. Main St., in Weatherford, will receive the packed boxes. Operating hours are Monday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 25, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

The shoebox gifts are then processed, prepared and delivered to suffering children in more than 100 countries using whatever means necessary—trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds.

This year, Weatherford residents hope to contribute thousands of gifts to the global collection goal of 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes. 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. Additional collection sites are located in Aledo, Eastland, Granbury, Mineral Wells, Springtown, Stephenville and Fort Worth. To find the nearest drop-off site, call 1-800-567-8580 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.

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.

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.