Pennsylvania – Next week is the deadline and the National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, those shoeboxes that get filled with holiday goodies and then get shipped out for needy kids around the world!

Shoeboxes are packed for boys and girls in three age groups (2-4, 5-9 and 10-14), and are filled with gifts like clothing, accessories, non-liquid personal hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and even notes and photos from the ho donate.

There are drop-off locations in Temple Baptist Church in DuBois, New Beginnings Assembly of God in Punxsutawney, Roseville Independent Chapel in Brookville, and First Baptist Church of Curwensville.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, CLICK HERE to visit the Samaritan’s Purse website.

PHOTO: Botswana – More than 1.1 million children in Botswana have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox since Samaritan’s Purse began delivering gifts there in 2001. (Photo is courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse)

 

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National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is Nov. 15-22, and will give residents of west central Pennsylvania the chance to impact the lives of millions of children around the world.

The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, uses gift-filled shoeboxes to show God’s love to children affected by war, poverty, disaster, famine and disease.

Shoeboxes are packed for boys and girls in three age groups (2-4, 5-9 and 10-14), and share gifts like clothing, accessories, non-liquid personal hygiene items, school supplies and toys.

The ministry encourages individuals to include a “wow” item like a deflated soccer ball with a pump, baby doll, toy truck, musical instruments and stuffed animals.

Individuals may also include personal notes of encouragement and photographs. Samaritan’s Purse requests a $9 donation to ship and process each shoebox.

Shoeboxes should not include used or damaged items; war-related toys; candy or other food items; aerosols; toothpaste, lotions or liquids; medicine or vitamins; sharp objects; and fragile items.

“A simple shoebox gift made a profound impact in my own life as a 13-year-old girl growing up in communist Romania,” shares Izabella McMillon, the ministry’s speakers bureau manager.

“The brand-new items in my shoebox were like a splash of color in my black and white world—and a direct answer to a specific prayer. This experience showed me God saw me and heard my prayers.

“A gift given with no strings attached can make a tangible and eternal impact–even opening the door of a child’s heart to accept the love of God in a personal way.”

Individuals can learn how to pack a shoebox, view other gift suggestions, get a “Follow Your Box” label and find the nearest drop-off location at samaritanspurse.org/occ.

In 2020, some 7,809,410 million gifts were packed nation-wide for Operation Christmas Child, with 415,403 built online.

It was a record year for Build a Shoebox Online and because of partnership in communities across the United States, more people than ever chose to participate in this way.

Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2020, the ministry sent more than 9,113,853 million shoebox gifts to children around the world.

Locally, the West Central PA Area collected 13,835 shoebox gifts. The area encompasses the communities of Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties.

In 2021, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 9.7 million children and for most it will be their first gift.

Since 1993, the ministry has collected and delivered more than 188 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 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 amazing love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Since 2009, more than 26.5 million children who have received a shoebox gift have participated in The Greatest Journey—a 12‑lesson discipleship program.

During National Collection Week (Nov. 15–22), the ministry will collect the giftfilled shoeboxes at over 4,000 drop-off locations across the country.

Shoebox gifts are collected in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

Nearly 575,000 volunteers worldwide—with more than 270,000 of those in the United States —are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization, that’s headed by Christian evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham.