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Shoebox ministry underway in county

Christmas is arriving early all over Greenville, as a local church prepares to serve as a collection point for Operation Christmas Child. Soon, with the help of Greenville volunteers, this site will be brimming with festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts.

Through Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project, Greenville residents are packing shoe box gifts for children in more than 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty. From Greenville, the shoe box gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means necessary—sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds—to reach suffering children around the world.

“This is a great opportunity to teach kids in America about generosity, compassion and bringing hope to children living in difficult places around the world,” said Linda Horn, Operation Christmas Child relay center coordinator. “Those who help at the Greenville drop-off location find it fun to watch as gift-filled shoe boxes stack up that have been donated by our generous community.”

Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to “follow your box” to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoe box gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org. First Baptist Church of Greenville is the designated collection site for the ministry.

Collection times will start Nov. 16 and run through Nov. 22.

Contact the church office at 382-5892 for more information on collection times.

In 2008, the Greenville area contributed 1,478 shoe box gifts to the Operation Christmas Child effort. This year, organizers hope to collect 1,800 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area.