With holiday supplies on store shelves turning up everywhere, Crawford County 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 northwestern Pennsylvania residents prepare to collect more than 45,000 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week (Nov. 18 to 25).
At local collection sites in Crawford County area, 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 shoebox gifts will be delivered to children worldwide. For many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received.
There are two Crawford County collection sites.
High Street Community Church, 9517 Route 322, Conneaut Lake, accepts boxes Nov. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 19, 4 to 6:30 p.m.; Nov. 20, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 21 and 22, 10 a.m. to noon; Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Nov. 24, noon to 2 p.m.; and Nov. 25, 5 to 6 p.m.
Meadville Alliance Church, 660 North Main St., accepts boxes Nov. 18 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Though the shoebox gifts will often travel thousands of miles, Operation Christmas Child offers a way for participants to follow their box by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org. Donors will receive an email telling the country where their shoeboxes are delivered.
Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoebox gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.