Grace Community Church is a drop-off location for Operation Christmas Child, a project to fill 500 gift-filled shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for children in need in 100 countries.
Shoeboxes filled with gifits may be brought to the church, 1234 Barger Place, during National Collection Week, Nov. 14 through 21.
While many Ramona families are busy preparing for holiday activities, a group of volunteers is focused on filling empty shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy kids overseas.
Ramona families are participating in Operation Christmas Child, considered the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. Since 1993, the effort has hand-delivered a reported 86 million gifts to children worldwide.
This year-round project of Samaritan’s Purse is coming to its peak, as local businesses, churches and schools prepare to collect gift-filled shoeboxes next week. Volunteers can drop off their shoebox gifts at the church to help children in 100 countries know they are not forgotten.
Operation Christmas Child collection hours at Grace Community will be from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, Nov. 14 through 18, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.
Operation Christmas Child uses whatever means necessary to reach suffering children around the world with these gifts of hope, including sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels and dog sleds.
Tracking technology also allows donors to “follow” their box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoebox gifts and find the destination country, use the Follow Your Box donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
What individuals can do to get involved:
•Prepare—Enlist families, churches, Scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoebox gifts for needy children worldwide.
•Pack—Fill shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoebox packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
•Volunteer—Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers in Ramona as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoebox gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call Charmaine Bush, coordinator of the collection effort in Ramona, at 760-789-0562. More information also is available at 714-432-7030 and www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.