Local residents help Samaritan's Purse reach 10 million needy kids this Christmas
Right now, churches, businesses, warehouses and homes across Western New York are being transformed into collection spots for Operation Christmas Child. Local collection sites hope to collect 21,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from individuals, families and groups for needy kids during Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week, Nov. 17-24.
Operation Christmas Child is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind. The annual project is a favorite of many residents, families, churches and groups who help spread God's love to millions of children around the world by filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and notes of encouragement.
"Operation Christmas Child is a fun project that makes a tangible difference in the life of a child facing difficult circumstances. Anyone can participate, whether young or old," said Buffalo volunteer Eric Stellrecht.
Through local collection points, Western New York residents hope to contribute significantly to the 2014 global goal of reaching 10 million needy children. Since 1993, Samaritan's Purse has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 113 million children in more than 150 countries (many war-torn and famine-stricken) through Operation Christmas Child. For many of these children, a gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, 505 Cayuga St., once again will serve as a drop-off location this year. Shoeboxes can be dropped off from 10 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday, as well as 3-6:30 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, and 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
To help a needy child in another part of the world through OCC, take a shoebox, decide male or female child and age (2-4, 5-9, 10-14), and fill it with items appropriate for the age you chose. If you like, wrap the shoebox with Christmas paper (top and bottom separately), put a rubber band around it and bring it to the church. There, volunteers have specific labels for the boxes (or find them online).
Samaritan's Purse does request, if possible, a donation of $7 to help cover the cost of flying the box around the world. OCC offers an online option to track the package's delivery.
Other local collection week sites include:
Wesleyan Church of Orchard Park, 7295 Ellicott Road
Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, 8445 Greiner Road, Williamsville
First Presbyterian Church, 38 N. Buffalo St., Springville
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Through simple shoebox gifts and a message of hope through Jesus Christ, children learn they are loved and not forgotten.
For more information about how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 716-741-3908 or visit samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 17-24; however, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina.
Participants can track their boxes online to the country where they will be delivered. To track a shoebox gift, use the online donation form at samaritanspurse.org. Click on "Pack a Shoebox"/"Follow-Your-Box Label."
For more information on Lewiston drop-offs, call First Presbyterian Church at 716-754-4945. All boxes need to be to the church by noon Monday morning, Nov. 24.