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Shoebox drive breaks records

This area has set a new record in the number of shoebox Christmas presents sent to needy children overseas.

Operation: Christmas Child asks people to fill a shoebox or shoebox-sized container with gifts for a boy or girl of a certain age group. The shoeboxes are then brought to local churches before being sent to the collection center at the Bethel Baptist Association office in Linden.

From Linden, the shoeboxes are put into cardboard boxes and trucked to Atlanta, where they are shipped around the world.

Operation: Christmas Child is an arm of the Samaritan’s Purse ministry headed by Franklin Graham, the son of noted evangelist Dr. Billy Graham.

“Our final tally was 9,367,” said June Humble, the area coordinator. “That was 410 more than we had last year. We were very surprised.

“The truck left (Tuesday morning), and is on its way to Atlanta to send those presents to children around the world.”

Churches have been gathering shoebox gifts since the event kickoff on Sept. 15. Many people made more than one shoebox, and churches had get-togethers to help prepare the shoebox presents.