Area individuals, families, churches and groups can make Christmas a reality for needy kids around the world by filling shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest holiday project of its kind, has a collection site at Batesville United Methodist Church, 106 N. Park Ave., which will be open during National Collection Week: Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Nov. 19-21, 5-7 p.m.; Nov. 20, 6-8 p.m.; Nov. 22, 9 a.m.-noon and 3:30-6 p.m.; Nov. 23, 9 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m.; Nov. 24, 1-3 p.m.; Nov. 25, 9-11 a.m.
Anyone can drop off a gift-filled box to send to a child overseas. “Then, using whatever means necessary – trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants – the shoe box gifts will be delivered to children worldwide. For many children, (it) ... will be the first gift they have ever received,” said media associate Faith Hamm.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect 9.8 million shoe boxes in 2013. It is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son.
Info and to donate: samaritanspurse.org or 800-567-8580. Donors can receive e-mails telling the countries where their shoe boxes are delivered.