By Karolyn Gephart
Shoeboxes are being recycled and filled with items to become holiday gifts for Operation Christmas Child underway in Pearland and Friendswood as well as 5,000 other US drop off locations. The boxes will be filled with gifts for children overseas during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week November 12-19.
Pearland and Friendswood families, churches, and groups are filling empty shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The organization delivers gift filled shoeboxes to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. According to The Samaritan’s Purse officials, for many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
Local church officials hope to collect more than 11, 770 gifts to contribute to the 2018 global outreach of 11 million children.
“We are honored to be linking arms with our community to help children around the world experience the true meaning of Christmas,” Regional Director Matt McClelland said. “These simple gifts show God’s love to children facing difficult circumstances.”
Drop off locations include Friendswood United Methodist Church at 204 W. Edgewood Drive in Friendswood.
In Brazoria County, drop off sites include Rosharon at Southview Baptist Church at 23001 South Highway 288 and Sandy Point Bible Church at 119 County Road 42. In Angleton, drop off boxes are at Second Baptist Church at 1817 Shanks Road and in Brazoria drop off at Grace Baptist Church at 5050 County Road 353.
For additional drop off locations, see the drop off locator online at www.samaritanspurse.org.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 817-595-2230, or 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.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
Area communities are working with shoeboxes to fill them with toys, school supplies and hygiene products to be given to children globally who are affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. It’s all part of Operation Christmas Child. Drop off locations are in Friendswood and several cities in Brazoria County.