Operation Christmas Child Collects Shoeboxes For Children In Need
You don’t have to wait for the season of giving this week at Lakewood Church in Baxter. The annual National Collection Week is taking place for Operation Christmas Child, a tradition that’s been going on for quite some time.
“Right here at Lakewood, this is our 26th year being a collection center, Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child started in 1993,” said Operation Christmas Child Central Drop-off Coordinator Tina Benson.
Lakewood Church is among 5,000 U.S. drop off locations that are collecting shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to send to children overseas.
“We load all these shoeboxes on the semi-trailers and from there they go to Chicago and they are prepared for shipping and distribution at that location around the world,” said Benson.
For many of these children, these shoeboxes are quite a big deal.
“The shoeboxes are going to countries that are underprivileged, so these are children who don’t get gifts in general, so for them to receive a shoebox, overwhelming for them because they don’t usually get gifts,” said Operation Christmas Child Central Program Leader Shelly Thelen.
“They don’t have a thing, it’s a joy just to get a little yo-yo, or a little stuffed animal, it’s just thrilling to be able to give to these kids,” said Mary Nelson, a donor to Operation Christmas Child.
Just in the Brainerd Lakes Area alone, over 7,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes will be collected and shipped all over the world to kids in need.
“It’s good to put this into the young children’s minds, that giving is more blessed than receiving,” said Nelson.
Having the opportunity to give gifts to children all around the world means a lot to local community members.
“The deep love I have got for this project is incredible,” said Thelen.
In the season of giving, sending gifts all around the world is worth it when a simple shoebox will make a child’s whole world.
If you would like to donate a shoebox, you can go to https://www.samaritanspurse.org/ to find a drop off location near you.