Operation Christmas Child: Remember needy children during tax-free weekend

Published 5:38 pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

While many Polk County families are busy with back-to-school shopping and activities, groups of local volunteers are focused on filling empty shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy kids. Polk County families are participating in Operation Christmas Child, an effort that has hand-delivered millions of gifts to kids worldwide since 1993.
Operation Christmas Child organizers are asking residents who are shopping for school supplies during this weekend’s tax-free holiday, Aug. 3-5, to buy an extra pack of pencils, paper, rules, crayons, soap, washcloths, etc. to put in a shoebox for less fortunate children.
This year Operation Christmas Child’s area goal is 39,000 shoeboxes, which will be sent to children in seven countries.
“With a population of more than 19,000 people in Polk County, if every person packed one shoebox, think of how much help we could give to children who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine,” organizers said.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, uses whatever means necessary to reach suffering children around the world with these gifts of hope, including 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.
The national collection week for gift-filled shoeboxes is the third week in November; however, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 828-625-1409 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
– article submitted
by Judy Jackson

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