Operation Christmas Child ollection Week is Nov. 16-23, Redwood Falls E-Free church is drop-off site

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette
Children around the world receive the shoeboxes that are donated through Operation Christmas Child.

More than 4,000 locations will offer a curbside drop-off option for the Samaritan's Purse project, Operation Christmas Child.

Volunteers are preparing to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, which is Nov. 16–23.

Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts – filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys – to children worldwide for more than two decades.

This is a project that everyone can still be a part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

“In the midst of the pandemic, the needs are greater than ever before,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Children around the world need to know that God loves them and there is hope. A simple shoebox gift opens the door to share about the true hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Participants can find the nearest drop-off location and hours of operation as they make plans to drop off their shoebox gifts.

The online lookup tool is searchable by city or ZIP code.

Signs at each location will identify the curbside drop off.

Among the drop-off locations is the Redwood Falls Evangelical Free Church.

According to Rachel Friese, who is helping to coordinate the local collection, in an effort to safeguard the community, the church is using curbside drop off this year.

Those who plan to drop off shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child should drive up to the church doors, and those there to accept the donations will come out and collect them from donors at their car. People will not even have to get out of their car.

What follows is the list of the dates and times for the local collection:

• Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

• Nov. 17 from 1-4 p.m.

• Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

• Nov. 19 from 4-7 p.m.

• Nov. 20 from 3-6 p.m.

• Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

• Nov. 22 from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

• Nov. 23 from 8-11 a.m.

Those interested in more information on how Operation Christmas Child is making adjustments during its national collection week can visit the organization’s important COVID-19 updates online.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause fear and uncertainty, Samaritan’s Purse is calling on churches and families to pack more shoebox gifts than ever before for Operation Christmas Child – making sure millions of children experience the good news and great joy of the holiday.

Samaritan’s Purse is committed to its mission of reaching millions of children across the globe with hope. This is a mission project that everyone can still be a part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

Simply pack shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. Even if churches and groups are not yet meeting, families are encouraged to pack shoebox gifts at home.

Through Operation Christmas Child’s network of thousands of churches around the world, God uses these gifts to make an eternal impact.

The organization also offers an option to virtually pack a shoebox gift.

Through this online tool, churches and groups can also set up a goal page to rally together to reach a larger goal.

It’s easy.

Simply set a goal, invite your friends and start packing.

Whether your goal is 50 shoeboxes or 5,000, anyone can create a goal page and work together with church members, friends and family to share the hope of the gospel with children around the world.

If anyone has any questions about the local collection site, they can contact Friese at (507) 430-1953.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

In 2020, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine.

More than 10.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2019, with more than 8.9 million collected in the U.S.

Do not include candy, toothpaste, used or damaged items, war-related items (such as toy guns, knives or military figures), seeds, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items (such as snow globes or glass containers) or aerosol cans.

Participants can donate a $9 per shoebox gift online through “follow your box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Nearly 575,000 volunteers worldwide – with more than 270,000 of those in the U.S. – are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse.

Delivered into the hands of children through local churches, every shoebox gift is an opportunity to share about Jesus Christ and God’s love.

Since 2009, more than 23 million children who have received a shoebox gift have participated in The Greatest Journey – a 12‑lesson discipleship program. Children learn from trained, local volunteers what it means to follow Jesus and share their faith with friends and family.

– Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse