'Operation Christmas Child' kicks off shoebox drive

Nov 1, 2014 6:46 PM by Charlene Cheng

With less than two months to go until Christmas, Operation Christmas Child is gearing up for shipment day, when it's anticipated that more than 7,000 shoeboxes full of gifts will leave Redding to be delivered to children around the world.

"Here we seem to get kind of spoiled and carried away in the commercialism of Christmas. They're from war-torn areas, poor areas, areas that have been hit by natural disasters, so they've gone from maybe having a home to having absolutely nothing," said volunteer Melissa Hawley.

To kick things off, participants gathered at a community-wide packing party.

"Last year I had one that went to a refugee camp in Iraq, where the Syrian people had been driven out of their land, and they were just living in a refugee camp, so one of my boxes went to one of those children, and I was really glad about that," Hawley said.

This is all part of of an international campaign that started in 1993.

In 2013, 13 million boxes were sent out.

"Everybody is doing this at the same time, so we have over 500,000 volunteers worldwide, who are working on getting it done," said area coordinator Marcy Burgin.

Of course, anyone can participate.

All you have to do is take a shoebox and fill it up with school supplies, hygiene items, and small toys.

You can even include a handwritten note.

"Most of these children have never had anything to call their own. Usually its their first touch of somebody, where they're thinking, 'Who would care about me this much to send this gift?'" Burgin said.

If you're packing your own box, items that shouldn't be included are war-related toys, liquids, and anything that can break.

National Collection Week is November 17-24.

Shoeboxes can be dropped off at The Stirring on Churn Creek Road, Redding Christian Fellowship on Victor Avenue, and Word of Life Church on Airport Road.

Lasy year, Redding area churches, businesses, and individuals packed over 5,800 shoeboxes, and they're hoping to beat that goal this year.


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