SCOTCH PLAINS—Kids in the Scotch Plains area are learning something surprising about back-to-school shopping—it is not just a time to fill their book bags and closets, it is also a great opportunity to fill shoe boxes to help children in need around the world.
It may seem like an unusual addition to the annual back-to-school shopping spree, but through Operation Christmas Child families can make a real difference to a child in need by simply keeping the box from their new school shoes and filling it with small gifts. Operation Christmas Child plans to hand-deliver shoebox gifts to more than 8.5 million struggling children in 100 countries this year. This massive effort means the project needs the help of Scotch Plains families, not only during the holidays, but also right now.
“The school supplies packed in these simple shoe box gifts often provide children with their only opportunity to attend school,” said Leigh Fisher, Mid-Atlantic Director for Operation Christmas Child. “I’m excited that with back to school deals, I can multiply the number of shoe boxes I pack.”
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, encourages volunteers to fill simple shoe boxes with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and hand-written notes of encouragement. The gifts are then shared with children worldwide who are suffering because of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty. For many of these children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they have ever received, letting them know they are loved and not forgotten.
Why now—months before the holiday season?
Operation Christmas Child is not limited to just a few weeks a year. It is a year-round project, requiring months of organization and preparation to reach millions of kids around the world. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed shoebox gifts to more than 77 million hurting children in some 130 countries.
How Can I Help Needy Kids Worldwide? It’s Simple!
- PREPARE—Help enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take advantage of back-to-school sales by collecting discounted school supplies for shoe box gifts.
- PACK—Fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoebox packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 1-410-442-3701 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 15-22; however, shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
Operation Christmas Child is a kids-helping-kids project that uses simple gift-filled shoeboxes to let hurting children know that they are loved, and not forgotten. (Photo courtesy of Operation Christmas Child)
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