Operation Christmas Child is underway

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By Staff Reports

With holiday supplies already covering the store shelves, Galax individuals, families, churches and groups are working to make Christmas a reality for needy kids around the world by filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, is ramping up as Galax residents prepare to collect more than 850 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week (Nov. 18-25), according to a news release.
At local collection sites in the city, anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas. Then, using whatever means necessary — trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants — the gifts will be delivered to children all over the world. For many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received, the release said.
Operation Christmas Child offers participants a way to track their gift by using the donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org. Donors will receive an email telling the country where their shoebox was delivered, said the release.
Since it began in 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 100 countries. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the organization hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes this year.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.
The Galax collection site is Hillcrest Baptist Church, located at 1218 S. Main Street. Operating hours are:
• Nov. 18-19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m
• Nov. 20 from 5-7 p.m.
• Nov. 21 from 2-4 p.m.
• Nov. 22 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Nov. 23 from 9-11 a.m.
• Nov. 24 from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
• Nov. 25 from 9-11 a.m.
Another nearby collection site is First United Methodist Church, located at 225 Fulcher Street in Hillsville. Operating hours for this location are:
• Nov. 18 from 4-6 p.m.
• Nov. 19-21 from 3-6 p.m.
• Nov. 22 from 4-7 p.m.
• Nov. 23 from 2-5 p.m.
• Nov. 24 from 3-6 p.m.
• Nov. 25 from 9-11 a.m.
For more information regarding these collection locations, call 1-800-567-8580.
For more information about how to participate, call (410) 772-7360 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week lasts from Nov. 18-25, but gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. Participants can also build a box through an online tool to give a more personalized touch to their gift.