Operation Christmas Child collection centers opening

Two sites in Clark County will be among 5,000 U.S. drop-off locations collecting shoebox gifts for children overseas during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25.

Winchester families, churches and community groups are busy transforming empty shoe boxes into gifts of hope filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world.

The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with local churches worldwide to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine, according to a news release

This year, Winchester residents hope to reach a multi-county goal of 12,265 gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children, according to a release.

Kim Jones, area coordinator for the Operation Christmas Child Boonesboro Area Volunteer Team, said in the release she loves being able to see local communities rally together for a global purpose.

“We have individuals, families, churches and groups of all ages working together to support this project,” Jones said. “It’s truly a community effort.”

The Clark County drop-off locations are ready to receive shoebox gifts during the following operating hours:

First Baptist Church, 37 N Highland St.

— noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18

— noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19

— 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20

— noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21

— noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22

— 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23

— noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24

— 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25

First Church of God, 2500 Colby Road

— 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18

— 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19

— 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Nov. 20

— 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21

— 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 22

— 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23

— 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24

— 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants who would like to donate $9 to help with the shoebox shipping can do so online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to attach to the box lid, according to the release.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ,” according to the release.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories, according to the release.