National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child Nov. 12-19

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National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child  is fast approaching.   

Operation Christmas Child, which is a popular holiday project in churches locally and across the nation,  is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical organization that provides aid and spiritual teachings to those in need around the world.  

Each year during National Collection Week, people worldwide donate packed shoeboxes filled with gifts that are later delivered to children across the globe. This year's collection week is Nov. 12-19.

Shoeboxes are packed according to age group (2-4, 5-9 and 10-14) and gender, and consist of clothing and accessories, crafts and activities, personal care items, toys, personal notes or pictures, and a "wow" item, such as a babydoll or a ball that can be inflated with a pump.

There are many suggested personal care items, including a comb, hairbrush, toothbrush, washcloth, bar soap, colorful adhesive bandages, reusable plastic containers or a blanket.

Traditional shoeboxes can be used to pack items or a plastic box of similar size.

At the organization's website (www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/), details on box dimensions are provided, along with recommended items to pack and drop off locations. Prohibited box items are also listed. 

Two drop-off locations for the shoeboxes are provided in Walker County. The following is an address for each location and the specified drop-off times: 

Glory Fellowship Baptist Church in Jasper, 175 Cordova Cut Off Rd.

• Monday, Nov. 12: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Tuesday, Nov. 13: 5 to 7 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 14: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 15: 5 to 7 p.m.

• Friday, Nov. 16: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Saturday, Nov. 17: 9 to 11 a.m.

• Sunday, Nov. 18: 4 to 6 p.m.

• Monday, Nov. 19: 9 to 11 a.m.

Antioch Baptist Church, Jasper, 1677 Duncan Rd.

• Monday, Nov. 12: 5 to 7 p.m.

• Tuesday, Nov. 13: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 14: 3 to 5 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 15: 10 a.m. to noon

• Friday, Nov. 16: 4 to 6 p.m.

• Saturday, Nov. 17: 9 to 11 a.m.

• Sunday, Nov. 18: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Monday, Nov. 19: 8 to 10 a.m.

Samaritan's Purse asks for a $9 donation to ship and process each shoebox. Tracking labels can also be purchased on the Samaritan's Purse website to track the destination of your donated shoebox. 

Once national collection week is over, the boxes are then delivered to eight processing centers in the United States before being shipped to other countries. Shoeboxes from Alabama are typically sent to a processing center in Georgia. 

Operation Christmas Child also serves to bring the word of God to children around the world.

"After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited back to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey," the group's website states. "Through this 12-lesson course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with friends and family. More than 14.9 million children have enrolled in this program since 2009."

Since 1993, 157 million shoeboxes have been delivered to over 100 countries, and there are over 5,000 drop-off locations across the United States. Over 11 million shoeboxes were collected worldwide in 2017 — 8.8 million of those in America.