GREENCASTLE -- A local church is hoping to gather more than 1,000 gift-filled shoe boxes for hurting children overseas.
New Life Baptist Church will serve as a collection point for Operation Christmas Child. Soon, with the help of local volunteers, the site will be brimming with festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts.
Through Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, Greencastle residents are helping send shoe box gifts this year to more than 8 million children in 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty.
From Greencastle, the shoe box gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means necessary -- sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds -- to reach suffering children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to "follow your box" to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoe box gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.
New Life Baptist, located at 51 Ridgeway St. in Greencastle, will be accepting boxes from 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 15-19 as well as Nov. 22. On Nov. 20, they will collect from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 21.
Each year, New Life Baptist Church strives to collect a record number of shoe box gifts for needy children. This year, organizers hope to collect over 1000 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area.
To get involved, individuals and organizations may fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.
People may also sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at collection sites in Greencastle as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoe box gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.
The church can be reached at 653-8995.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 1-800-353-5949 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in some 130 countries.