Operation Christmas Child gift box collection starts

Stock Photo Courtesy Pixabay
News Reporter

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Poteau families are expressing their gratitude by giving back.

Residents are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, which ends Monday, residents will collect shoebox gifts at drop-off locations.

In Poteau, gifts boxes may be dropped off at the Leflore Baptist Association, 106 Flanagan St., Ste. A, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Wednesday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9-11 a.m. Monday.

The Samaritan’s Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver the gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. The Southeast Oklahoma Area Team volunteers hope to collect more than 14,487 gifts during the week.

“We believe these simple gifts have the ability to send a tangible message of hope to children facing difficult circumstances,” said Regional Director Joe Christian.

“It is exciting to see the Poteau community come together to share the good news of Jesus Christ with millions of boys and girls around the world.”

More than 150,000 U.S. volunteers including families, churches and other groups are joining forces to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2018, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (816) 622-8316, 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 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.