News

Operation Christmas Child changes lives

The future of tomorrow are the children of today.

Operation Christmas Child

Posted on 9/21/13

By Lee Coleman

From all around the globe and from every socioeconomic climate.

Sadly, the number of needy children around the world grows everyday. From impoverished areas with deplorable conditions to war zones, these children deserve to have a smile on their faces.

Since 1993, the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child has been reaching out to children.

The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, the project uses gift-filled shoeboxes to bring joy to children.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in 100 countries.

During National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25, Samaritan’s Purse will collect the shoeboxes at more than 3,500 drop-off locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Locally, the First Baptist Church of Langdon will serve as a collection site for the third consecutive year.

“This helps so many children. I just thought how wonderful it is to help children and families around the world,” said Relay Center Coordinator Amelia Musgrave. “When there became a need for a coordinator, I felt led to help out.”

This year, the church has set a goal of 300 shoeboxes that will be driven to Grand Forks on Nov. 25 to start the worldwide distribution process.

After the shoeboxes are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers in Atlanta, Boone, N.C., Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Minneapolis and Orange County, Calif., Samaritan’s Purse and its partners will deliver the shoeboxes to children on six continents.

“We have seen so many people in our community get involved and give,” Musgrave said. “It is real neat to see people show their soft spot and help children.”

Decorated shoeboxes, a list of suggested items and a schedule of drop-off dates and times in November can be picked up at First Baptist Church by calling (701) 256-5060.

Toys, school supplies, hygiene items, miscellaneous items and a personal note from the sender top the list.

There are some items that can’t be sent including used or damaged items, war-related items, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items and aerosol cans.

“A lot of the kids who receive shoeboxes are in war zones and the boxes should be as up-lifting and positive as possible,” Musgrave explained. “If a person wants to send bar soap, we suggest Ivory soap because it floats. A lot of these kids don’t have any running water and bathe in rivers or other bodies of water.”

Musgrave said the project doesn’t end when Christmas arrives.

“It’s not just at Christmas,” she said. “A lot of children receiving the boxes don’t have Christmas. They’ve never even heard about Jesus.

“They are distributed all year, all around the world. They are delivered by camels, canoes, in backpacks to remote mountain villages and so many other ways to reach the children.”

Over the last two years, the number of shoeboxes from Langdon has increased and Musgrave is hopeful the goal of 300 shoeboxes this year will be achieved.

“We would love to reach our goal of 300 shoeboxes and see that many children reached from this area,” she said.

“We are not only reaching the children, we are reaching the family.

“You never know how many lives you will impact through one shoebox.”

For more information, contact Amelia Musgrave at 256-5060 or visit samaritanspurse.org.

Donors can find out the country where their shoebox gifts are delivered by using the donation form on the website by clicking on Support and Follow Your Box.