Polk County site open to collect gift-filled shoeboxes

Published 2:59 pm Sunday, November 6, 2011

Minda McComas, a one year-old, packing her first shoebox at Big Level Baptist Church. (photo submitted by Judy Jackson)

A group of local volunteers is focused on filling empty shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy kids overseas.
Polk County families are participating in the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, “Operation Christmas Child,” an effort that organizers say has hand-delivered 86 million gifts to kids worldwide since 1993.
This year-round project of Samaritan’s Purse is coming to its peak, as local businesses, churches and schools prepare to collect gift-filled shoe boxes during national collection week, Nov. 14 – 21.
Polk County volunteers wishing to help kids in 100 countries can drop off their shoe box gifts at a local participating church. They may also bring them to the Official Relay Center, Patsy Williams, coordinator, Polk Baptist Assoc., 208 Blanton St., in Columbus. Hours are Mon., Wed. and Fri. 9 a.m. – noon; Tues. and Thurs.: 6 – 8 p.m.; Sat. 9 – 11 a.m. and Sun: 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Some participating Polk County churches and community groups include Beulah Baptist Church, Big Level Baptist Church, Columbus Baptist Church, Cooper’s Gap Baptist Church, Cub Scouts pack 659, First Baptist-Saluda, Green Creek First Baptist and Silver Creek Baptist Church.
Operation Christmas Child delivers these gifts via sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels and dog sleds. Tracking technology also allows donors to follow their box to the destination country, where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoebox gifts and find out the destination country, use the “Follow Your Box” donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.Those interested in becoming involved with “Operation Christmas Child” can do so in the following ways: Prepare: Enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoe box gifts for needy children worldwide. Pack: Fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoebox packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Process: Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at the collection sites in Columbus as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoebox gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 828-894-8863 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 14 – 21.
Shoe box gifts are also collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
– article submitted
by Judy Jackson

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