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Necessities and toys

Boxes to be collected for Operation Christmas Child

Photo submitted to Times Observer From left, youth at Pleasant Community Church Alex Meneo, Rylan Meneo, and Trey Carrington, building Gospel Opportunity — GO — boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Thanks to Operation Christmas Child, more than 70,000 children around the world have received shoe boxes packed with necessities and toys, from the Warren collection center over the last 14 years.

That number will grow again soon.

“The shoe boxes will go to kids in underprivileged countries, many of whom have never had a gift before,” volunteer Patti Seth said. “We’ll be collecting the shoe boxes at Pleasant Community Church, 673 Pleasant Drive.”

A collection crew will be on-site from 3 to 7 Monday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 20, and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21 and 22, according to Central Drop-Off Team Leader Wendy Carrington.

“Last minute shoe boxes could be dropped off between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 23,” Seth said.

Those with questions may call the church at 723-7730.

There is an emphasis on “shoe boxes” because the packing system is intended for boxes of about that size. A regular shoe box or 6-quart plastic box is the appropriate size, Seth said. Anyone who would like to send more materials is encouraged to pack more — rather than larger — boxes.

The boxes may contain any combination of things like school supplies, stuffed animals, coloring books, toys, clothing — shirt, shoes, socks, and hats; and toiletries — soap, a washcloth and a toothbrush.

There are limits.

Candy, toy guns and other weapons, and patriotic items should not be included.

Anything with an expiration date — toothpaste, for example — can cause shipping problems and should not be included.

Depending on what’s in the box, those who give should indicate whether it is intended for a boy or a girl and if there is a specific age range — 2 to 4, 5 to 9, or 10 to 14.

Those who donate may include a card or a letter and a photo, if they like.

“It’s not often that people get a response back, but it’s possible,” Seth said.

There is a cost of $9 per box associated with shipping. Donors are asked to include a check to Samaritan’s Purse in their box. Those who pack multiple boxes do not need to write separate checks — one check for the entire amount may be included in any of the boxes.

“They go to Africa, South America, Asia,” Seth said. “It’s all over. Since Operation Christmas Child started, I think they’ve reached 148 million plus children.”

“It brings me to tears just to think about those kids opening their shoe box,” she said. “The first video I ever saw on Operation Christimas Child was a of a boy — 10 or 11 — in a pavilion. All around, you could hear the other children open their shoe boxes and see the joy on their faces and hear the laughter. Here’s this one kid. He never opens his shoe box. He’s clutching it to his chest. He won’t let go of it. The joy that you see there, the excitement, is beyond.”

“The impact of a shoe box goes far beyond anything we could possibly begin to imagine,” she said.

Again this year, the shoe boxes from the Warren center will be joined by wooden toys built by the volunteers at the Toy Shoppe in North Warren.

“The Toy Shoppe has been providing wooden toys for several years,” Seth said. “We got several boxes this past week.”

“I can’t begin to thank God enough for everything he’s done for this program,” Seth said. “I am beyond overjoyed that Samaritan’s Purse is still planning on being able to send out the shoe boxes this year. For a kid under normal circumstances who has nothing to get a gift is amazing. In the midst of all that is going on right now, it’s beyond.”

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