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National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child starts Monday

The initiative, through Samaritan’s Purse, started in 1993 and since then has delivered over 178 million shoe boxes to children in over 160 countries.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 12:43 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The holidays are quickly approaching, and this week is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. This is a program through Samaritan’s Purse, where people fill shoeboxes with necessities for children in less fortunate countries.

“It touches so many lives. Last year 9.5 million children received their first gift that they’ve ever had in their lives, and they learned about Jesus Christ,” Carolyn Purd, a volunteer shoebox collection greeter, said.

First Church of the Nazarene in Rockingham County is the main drop off location for shoeboxes in this area.

Grayson Willis is a volunteer for the operation at the church, and he says it just takes a couple of easy steps in order to make a child’s Christmas better.

“You choose whether or not the box is for a boy or a girl, and then an age group which is 2-4, 4-9 or 10-14,” Willis said.

Willis said shoeboxes should then be filled with items such as school supplies, hygiene items, toys, clothing or anything you believe a child would like or need.

“It’s just really important, whether you can do one shoebox, or multiple shoeboxes, just to try to help those that are less fortunate,” Willis said.

The initiative, through Samaritan’s Purse, started in 1993 and since then has delivered over 178 million shoeboxes to children in over 160 countries.

Last year, this area collected almost 13,000 boxes, and the hope this year, is to collect around a total of 13,200.

“Especially all that’s going on and COVID-19, these third world countries are probably more devastated and probably need hope more than ever before,” Willis said.

This year, to accommodate the safety of those who participate, all you have to do is pull up in your car to one of the drop-off locations, and volunteers will meet you to collect your boxes. You can find the list of all drop off locations, along with more information on the initiative, at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Donations will be accepted from Monday, Nov. 16 through Monday, Nov. 23.

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