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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.
The Amen and Living Word Christian bookstores will be collecting shoeboxes full of gifts for this years Operation Christmas Child Nov. 12-19.
Local Operation Christmas Child volunteer coordinator Bonnie Buse extended her thanks to all the Arlington and Marysville residents who have supported the Samaritans Purse project during its eight years of operation in this area, while asking for more contributions for the upcoming holiday season.
Buse explained that prospective donors should begin with a standard size shoebox, no larger than a mens 12, 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 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. Proper labels are available at the groups Web site, at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
As for the gifts themselves, a wide variety of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, candy and clothes are acceptable. Items that cannot be included are 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. Buse requested donors to double-Ziploc bag all of the candy and soap that they submit. She suggested they include notes to the children who will receive their gifts, with photos of themselves and self-addressed envelopes 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. 12-19 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 St. 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. 12-17, noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 18, and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 19. The Web site for Operation Christmas Child is www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. To learn more, you may contact Buse at 360-631-8148.

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