Shoebox gifts: Give a smile to a child this year

COLLECTION TIMES AND DATES: First Christian Church, Broken Bow: NOV. 16 - 5-7 p.m.; NOV. 17 - 3-5 p.m.; NOV. 18 - 3-5 p.m.; NOV. 19 - 6-7 p.m.; NOV. 20 - 3-5 p.m.; NOV. 21 - noon - 1 p.m It is that time of year again - the time when our hearts turn to those less fortunate that us. The time for Operation Christmas Child, and local coordinator Fae Beaumont says her goal is to make this year’s collection the biggest and best one yet! Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization. Gift-filled shoe boxes are collected and delivered in the name of Jesus Christ to children living in desperate situations around the world. Last year, nearly 8.2 million shoe boxes were collected internationally, with nearly 5.2 million boxes collected in the United States. The boxes, filled with clothing, toys, toiletries, and candy, touched the lives of children in Bulgaria, Syria, Albania, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Iraq and Macedonia in 2009. Each box also contains a book about Jesus, in the child’s native language. Locally, Fae says 630 shoe boxes were collected in Broken Bow. She has set her goal for 800 boxes this year. Fae says the greatest need for shoe boxes is for boys and girls ages 10-14 years old. “The reason being,” she explains, “kids that age are more apt to make a decision for Christ, and they generally don’t get as many boxes as the younger kids.” Every day boys and girls worldwide suffer from war, poverty, disease and natural disaster. Operation Christmas Child makes it possible for millions of these children to experience God’s love through shoe boxes filled with gifts. One of the things that makes Operation Christmas Child so special is its emphasis on kids helping kids. This project provides a simple, tangible way for children and teenagers to share the joy of giving. Samaritan’s Purse adopted Operation Christmas Child in 1993, and has collected and distributed more than 77 million shoe box gifts for needy children in 149 countries and territories. Fae emphasizes the importance of using standard size shoe boxes - NOT boot boxes, as they are too big to fit in the cartons to be shipped. She says 6-quart plastic boxes work well. “There is a story of one little boy who was as excited about the plastic box as anything in it,” Fae says. “It have him something to haul water in for his mother.” Once packed, each shoe box must be accompanied by $7 for shipping. For convenience, you can go online to, and register. You can then just print out your labels and attach them to the box, letting the collection center know you have paid the shipping costs for that box. Operation Christmas Child envelopes are also available to be picked up at the Chief office during regular business hours. Collection in Broken Bow will be the week of Nov. 15-21, at First Christian Church, 831 Buffalo Run Road. For more information 308-872-6044.