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Operation Christmas Child collects for children worldwide
SMOKEY POINT Samaritans Purse is once again providing area residents with a local means of sending toys and other items to needy children around the world for the holidays, when the Amen and Living Word Christian bookstores will be collecting shoeboxes full of gifts for this years Operation Christmas Child during the month of November.
According to local Operation Christmas Child volunteer coordinator Bonnie Buse, the Arlington and Marysville residents donated approximately 2,000 of the estimated 7.6 million gift shoeboxes collected by the Samaritans Purse project last year, and while she extended her thanks to all those who have supported the project during its seven years of operation in this area, she noted that more contributions are always needed and appreciated.
Buse explained that prospective donors should begin with a standard size shoebox, no larger than a mens 13, or a 6.5-quart plastic container. Wrapping the boxes is not required, but donors may do so, as long as they wrap the lids separately, so that Operation Christmas Child volunteers can inspect the boxes contents without removing their wrapping.
Buse elaborated that donors should label whether their shoeboxes will contain gifts for boys or for girls, and whether their gifts are intended for children aged 2-4 years old, 5-9 years old or 10-14 years old, by downloading the proper labels from the groups Web site.
As for the gifts themselves, a wide variety of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, candy and clothes are acceptable, but certain submissions cannot be included, among them aerosol cans, used or damaged items, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow-globes or glass containers, or any war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures. At the same time that Buse warned donors to double-Ziploc bag all of the candy and soap that they submit, she invited them to include notes to the children who will receive their gifts, with photos of themselves and self-addressed enveloped for the children to write them back.
Because each gift shoebox costs at least $7 to ship, donors are additionally asked to include that amount or more, either in official donation envelopes or online at the groups Web site.
Buse emphasized that children from nearly 100 countries are recipients of these contributions, and asserted that their need is especially prevalent in the wake of hurricanes and tsunamis across the globe. While Samaritans Purse funds other projects on behalf of the health and welfare of children internationally, Buse sees the local collections Nov. 13-20 as another convenient means of supporting those children.
The Amen Christian Bookstore in Marysville is located on 318 State Ave. and can be reached at 360-659-3068, while The Living Word Christian Bookstore in Smokey Point is located on 3405 172nd Ave. NE and can be reached at 360-653-9323. Shoeboxes and pamphlets are available at both locations, and the collection times for those locations will be 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 13-18, noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 19, and 9:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 20. The Web site for Operation Christmas Child is www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. To learn more, you may contact Buse at 360-435-6138.