Arlington residents collect gifts for Operation Christmas Child

ARLINGTON — Christmas is arriving early in Arlington as Atonement Free Lutheran Church, 6905 172nd Street NE, prepares to 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, Arlington 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 Arlington, 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

Last year, Arlington residents contributed 832 to join the Operation Christmas Child effort. This year, organizers hope to collect over 880 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area.

What you can do to get involved:

• Prepare — Enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoe box gifts for needy children worldwide.

• Pack — 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

• Process — Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at collection sites in Arlington as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoe box gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 1-800-353-5949 or visit

National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22. Collection at Atonement Free Lutheran Church will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov.15-20, noon to 2 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 22. For more information call 360-435-9191.

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