Punxsutawney, PA – Do you know of a church or other location in the Punxsutawney area that would like to be a drop-off location for the Samaritan’s Purse annual project, Operation Christmas Child? Get in contact with them as soon as possible.

A church is sought in the Punxsutawney area to partner as an Operation Christmas Child shoebox drop-off location for the West Central Pennsylvania area.

The Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts‑filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items—and delivers them to children in need around the world. For many of these children, the gift—filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

In 2020, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine. More than 10.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2019, with more than 8.9 million collected in the United States.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Many children who receive shoebox gifts will also enroll in Operation Christmas Child’s 12‑lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. This program teaches children about God’s love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Since 2009, more than 23 million children who have received a shoebox gift have participated in The Greatest Journey—a 12‑lesson discipleship program. Children learn from trained, local volunteers what it means to follow Jesus and share their faith with friends and family.

Volunteers collect these gifts during National Collection Week, Nov. 16–23, when over 4,000 drop-off locations are open across the country. Because of COVID-19 concerns this year, each location will offer a curb-side drop-off option.

For more information or questions, church leaders may contact Karla Sunderlin, area coordinator, via e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 814-496-4456 as soon as possible with the ministry’s deadline fast approaching.

If a drop-off cannot be found in the Punxsutawney area, shoeboxes will have to be taken to the next closest location in DuBois, Curwensville, Indiana or Purchase Line.