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Operation Christmas Child: Shoebox campaign underway

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Volunteer Kaye Winslow packs shoebox donations for Operation Christmas Child at Evangelical Methodist Church in Elizabeth City, Monday. The collection effort, an annual project of the humanitarian group Samaritan's Purse, continues daily through next Monday.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, November 13, 2017

Churches and individuals across the region are joining thousands of other Christians in offering love and comfort to children in desperate situations around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

The regional dropoff center for Operation Christmas Child, an annual project of Samaritan’s Purse, opened Monday at Evangelical Methodist Church in Elizabeth City. 

From now until next Monday, area residents wishing to participate in Operation Christmas Child may pack shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children and drop them off at the church on Okisko Road.

Evangelical Methodist is an official dropoff center for the shoeboxes. However, shoboxes are also being collected at other centers across northeastern North Carolina. They include: New Life Church of Currituck. Lighthouse Assembly in Buxton, Open Door Church in Edenton, Beulah Baptist Church in Sunbury, Ross Baptist Church in Windsor and Hope Free Will Baptist Church in Plymouth.

Area churches contributed about 10,200 shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child last year, according to Kim Bartlett, who is heading up the dropoff center at Evangelical Methodist. The goal from Samaritan’s Purse this year is 10,325 shoeboxes from the seven dropoff centers in the area, and organizers expect to meet that target, Bartlett said.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism agency headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Operation Christmas Child is directed toward children who have been affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty or famine.

"It's exciting to think of the impact our efforts will have in the life of each child who receives a shoebox," Regional Director Lindsay Tunnell said in a statement released by Samaritan’s Purse. "We can't wait to see how our community will respond this year to share God's love with children across the globe."

Dropoff hours at Evangelical Methodist are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, you may call 704-583-1463 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, according to information provided by Samaritan’s Purse.

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