National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

Published 5:06 pm Monday, November 14, 2016

AMERICUS —  Hundreds of Sumter County residents are on a mission to make a lasting impact on children in need. They are looking beyond their own wish lists and packing shoeboxes for boys and girls around the world — for many of the children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
The week of Nov. 14 – 21, Middle Georgia residents will transform 25,000 empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement and fun toys, such as a doll or soccer ball. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these shoebox gifts to children overseas living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease and natural disaster.
“Next week the Americus community is focused on making a difference in the lives of children facing difficult circumstances,” said Heart of Georgia Area Coordinator Joyce Balding. “There is no joy quite like that of giving, and it is an honor to use our resources to let children around the world know they are loved and not forgotten.”
Community members are invited to attend an opening ceremony to celebrate the arrival of National Collection Week and to pray for the children who will receive the gifts. The event is scheduled to take place on 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14 at First Baptist Church in Americus.
Sumter County residents are not alone in their effort to help children around the world. More than 150,000 volunteers including families, churches and other groups are linking arms across the country to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2016, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children, with 25,000 coming from the Central Georgia area. Fifteen sites will serve as drop-off locations for shoebox gift donations throughout Middle Georgia, including First Baptist Church in Americus.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 478-250-1158 or visit By going online to give the suggested donation of $7 per shoebox gift, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world it will be delivered. They can also pack a shoebox gift online and even upload a photo and note of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. 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 church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.