Operation Christmas Child

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Mid-Shore families are expressing their gratitude by giving back. Residents are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

Every year, Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week takes place the third week in November when more than 4,500 drop-off locations are open across the country. In Easton, Real Life Chapel at 418 Glebe Road is a collection site. Volunteers can drop off their filled shoeboxes 6 to 8 p.m. today, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. It has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts to children worldwide for nearly three decades. The Samaritan’s Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children in need in more than 160 countries.

Last year, despite a global pandemic, millions of shoebox packers joined forces to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind.

Some 7.8 million gifts were brought to curbside Operation Christmas Child drop-off locations nationwide in 2020. Combined with those collected from partnering countries, the ministry sent more than 9.1 million shoebox gifts to children around the world.

“We thank God that even in the middle of a pandemic, generous men, women, children, families, and churches were moved to pack millions of shoebox gifts,” Graham said in a news release. “These gifts open the door for us to share God’s love and the eternal hope of the Gospel with children and their families who are living in desperation and fear.”

It’s not too late to join in this year’s effort. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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