Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week, starting today through Monday, is a part of Samaritan's Purse, a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.
According to its Website, "Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child.
"Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ."
This year, residents within Cleveland and nearby cities hope to contribute 5,000 gifts to the global collection goal of 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes.
The drop off site will be First Baptist Church in Cleveland at 101 N Bolivar Ave.
The drop off times are today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; and Monday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
According to the Website, packing a shoebox for a child is not difficult. In order to pack a box, use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). Wrapping is not required.
Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label from the Website. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of the box.
Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.
Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 for each gift you prepare.
You can give online to discover the destination of your box. Or, you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on the memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the items inside your shoebox.
For multiple gifts make one combined donation.
Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and bring it to the First Baptist Church during National Collection Week.
A year-round, online giving tool also allows anyone to build a box.
By visiting the project’s Website at samaritanspurse.org, participants can select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, virtually “pack” an empty shoebox, and finish it off by writing a note of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child volunteers will pack the shoebox gifts and ship them on behalf of the donors.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, or to find the nearest drop-off site, call 770-777-9342 or visit samaritanspurse.org.