Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

A shoe box can help a child: Residents can help

 


Just how much can one pack into a shoebox?

This is something Mindy France, Operation Christmas Child Collection Center Coordinator for southwest Wyoming is all too familiar with.

For several years, France has helped out with the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program. Since 1993, OCC has been sending and distributing shoe-box gifts to children in need around the world. More than 80 million boxes in 130 countries have been distributed to children in need. This year, Samaritan’s Purse would like to reach the 100-million mark and is asking this country to help out.

According to a brochure from Samaritan’s Purse, “sharing the good new of God’s love with hurting boys and girls is at the heart of OCC. I would like to invite your church or group to participate in the project by packing show boxes with simple gifts that bring joy to children in need this holiday season.”

France, who is a member of the Green River Assembly of God, said OCC encourages people to pack shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, hard candy and notes. Boxes should not be larger than a man’s size 10.

This way the children will have a nice, non cardboard, box to keep their gifts in, however, those who don’t have show boxes and are in need of some the church has some OCC boxes.

How the program works

First, a resident must decide if they want to give to a boy or a girl a box and in what age group the child will be in. There are three age groups, 2-4 years old, 5-9 years old and 10-14 years old.

Then, the participant will need to obtain a shoe box and buy the items to go in it.

OCC encourages participants to donate school supplies, such as pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, stamps and ink sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators and coloring books; toys, including small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump rope, battery-operated toys with batteries; hygiene items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bars of soap, comb and washcloth; other items in the boxes can be T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches and flashlights with batteries.

Participants should include a personal note to the child with a photo of themselves or family. They can also include their name and address, so the child can write back.

If one is putting both candy and a bar of soap in the box, they need to make sure to double bag them with plastic Ziplock bags so the candy doesn’t taste like soap, France said.

Participants should not put in any war-related items, such as toy guns, knives, military figures, chocolate or food, out-of-date candy, liquids or lotions, medications, vitamins or breakable items.

Next, residents must include a $7 donation per box so the boxes can be delivered overseas. France said they can either give the money to the church or they can go to the website http://www.samaritanspurse.org/occ to make the donation. France said one of the perks of donating the $7 online is the donor will then receive a tracking number. They can then follow the box as it travels to its final destination.

Once the box is full, residents must put a rubber band around each closed box and drop it off at a collection center near them.

Green River’s collection center is at the Green River Assembly of God Church, 1380 Hitching Post Drive. National collection week is from Monday, Nov. 17 through Monday Nov. 23.

Last year, Sweetwater County collected 1,219 boxes. This year, France would like to collect 1,300.

“Those boxes are important because they reach those countries that are normally closed off to the rest,” France said. “It’s the largest Christmas project of this kind.”

For more information visit the website www. samaritanspurse.org. For labels or brochures stop by the church or The Green River Star office.

 

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