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Collection sites announced for ‘Christmas Child’

This month, several locations in the multi-county Linden, AL Area Team will serve as drop-off sites for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child—joining nearly 5,000 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world.

During the project’s National Collection Week, Nov. 13 – 20, Demopolis residents will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child will deliver these shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

This year, the Linden, AL Area Team hopes to contribute more than 16,860 shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

“We are honored to join the nationwide effort to collect gift-filled shoeboxes for children who may have never experienced the true meaning of Christmas,” said Regional Director Shelli Wishard. “Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

Area location sites and times include:

Linden — Bethel Baptist Association; 308 E. Coats Ave.; Monday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 14: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m. to noon; Sunday, Nov. 19, 2 to 4 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m. to noon.

Livingston — Livingston First Baptist Church, 103 Lafayette St.; Monday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;  Wednesday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 20, 9 to 11 a.m.

Hours are subject to change. A full list of area collection locations can be found online.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call 770-777-9342 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

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. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, Nov. 11 print edition of the Demopolis Times.)