On September 29 hundreds of empty shoeboxes will be transformed into gifts of hope as part of a community packing party aimed to reach out to children in need around the world. Operation Christmas Child, a project of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver the shoeboxes—filled with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items—to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local churchs worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“We are so excited to come together with local volunteers to offer a community event that will have a lasting impact in the lives of children around the world. Each shoebox gift sends a message to a child that they are loved by God and not forgotten. It is an honor for our community to play a part in that. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox will be the first gift they have ever received.” says local volunteer, April Stone, who also volunteers year-round with the project.
The party will be held at Powell County Middle School Gym located 770 W College Ave. in Stanto on September 29, at 10:00 a.m. The event is open to the public and anyone is welcome to come experience the joy of giving. This will be a fun event for the family, church groups, school clubs, scout groups and others. In addition to packing shoebox gifts, the event will feature snacks, activities, a fun photo opportunity with a walking shoebox, and a station to write letters that may be included in the boxes. Participants will also have opportunity to enter a drawing for four complimentary tickets to visit Dollywood this fall in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Whitaker Bank in Stanton and Clay City are serving as collection locations for donated items that will be used to pack the gift boxes. Donations (which must be new items) will be accepted through September. Typical items include small toys, soap, washrag, toothbrush, paper, pencil, sharpener, crayons. For more complete information on the type of items needed (and those items that are not allowed for the boxes) visit the Operation Christmas Child website www.samaritanspurse.org/occ and click on “Pack a Shoebox”:
Groups, churches, and organizations who would like to be involved with the event as a team or otherwise may contact Misty Marsh at Whitaker Bank, 606-663-2283, for more information.