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Local church collecting boxes for kids

Fourteen-year-old Edward from Belize was one of the many children who have benefited from the Operation Christmas Child.

Locals wanting to help a child overseas receive a Christmas to remember can participate in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.

Next week has been designated national collection week for the organization, and locally, Hopewell Baptist Church will be a drop-off point.

Organ-izer Jan Grager said the church will only take donations next week, and will be open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

With just a shoebox, a few gifts and a mere $7, Operation Christmas Child, brings happiness to needy children throughout the world, she said.

The program is an ongoing project where people pack shoe boxes full of toys, school supplies and hygiene products.

“It’s such a blessing to do,” Gager said.

“It’s a way that you can tell others about Jesus’ love. It’s a gift for kids who are in war-torn areas. It supplies their needs there. They are also given a book in their language, called ‘The Greatest Gift’ it talks about Jesus Christ. They get to learn about salvation and Jesus Christ, and that’s what keeps me doing it.”

Churches, groups and individuals, alike, join together to fill empty shoe boxes or shoe-box sized plastic boxes with these gifts.

Each box is designated “boy or girl” and the proper age range, whether it is 2 to 4, 5 to 9 or 10 to 14.

Suggested toys include small cars, dolls, balls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketches, Slinkies and the like.

Additionally, hard candy and lollipops, mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps and flashlights are among the other items listed.

In a separate envelope, enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, there’s a chance the child may write back.

Be sure not to include, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans, the organization said.

Be sure to place a rubber band around each shoe box and lid.

Visit samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC to follow your box, print off a label and find more information.

For more information, call 222- 2757.