Operation Christmas Child packs shoeboxes for children worldwide

by Kyla Parkins

Now is the time for an empty shoebox to transform into something new.

Algelito Panot said he was an honored person to receive his shoebox last year. Though he didn’t know the donor, he thanked her from the bottom of his heart, saying he was grateful to become her friend.

Panot’s shoebox wasn’t empty, but filled with gifts from junior Alicen Freeman through a program called Operation Christmas Child.

“Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christmas relief organization,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the annual project started in 1993 and has brought shoeboxes filled with gifts to over 113 million children in 150 countries.

“These shoeboxes are a powerful way to let children around the world know that they are special and introduce them to God’s greatest gift, salvation through Jesus Christ!” Freeman said.

Whitworth University contributes to Operation Christmas Child through an on-campus collection of shoeboxes. Freeman said 182 shoeboxes were collected last year and they hope to collect even more this year.

You can pick up a shoebox in the HUB, along with an information packet. Filled shoeboxes must be returned to the HUB by Nov. 23 wrapped in a rubber band.

Shoeboxes can be filled with various items including toys, school supplies, letters, hats and anything else you’d like to give.

“Packing a shoebox is lots of fun! By going to the Dollar Store, you can easily fill a shoebox for $10,” Freeman said.

If you desire some company while packing your shoebox, Warren Hall is hosting a Shoebox Packing Party Nov. 21 from 7-9 p.m.

“We will have shoebox supplies available, but encourage students to bring some of their own items to make their shoeboxes special,” Freeman said.

Once a box is packed, students can add the $7 shipping fee as well as a shipping label. Freeman said that if students are unable to cover the entire shipping cost, they can place as much as possible in an envelope in the box. Donors will cover the rest.

“Operation Christmas Child is an opportunity to serve others around the world and share the wonderful gifts we’ve been given,” Freeman said.

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