Collection under way for Operation Christmas Child shoebox mission

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts is under way through Monday at four local churches designated as drop-off sites.

The local spots are among the 5,000 drop-off locations across the United States for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse of which Franklin Graham is president. It is touted as the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, according to its website, and uses gift-filled shoeboxes “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world.”

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories. Each year, the project mobilizes more than 150,000 volunteers in the United States, the website notes.

The shoeboxes are for girls and boys in three agee groups: 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14. Participants purchase items to pack a shoebox, advised to start with a quality “wow” item such as a stuffed animal, soccer ball with pump or clothing outfit that will capture the child’s attention the instant he or she opens the box.

The website at www.samaritanspurse.org provides suggestions on what can and can’t be included in a shoebox. Toys, hygiene items and school supplies are encouraged.

Items that can’t be included are candy; toothpaste; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; and aerosol cans.

A $9 donation covers shipping and other project costs. Local drop-off sites, dates and times are:

¯ WINTERSVILLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

702 Main St., Wintersville

Today: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to noon;

Sunday: Noon to 2 p.m.

Monday: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

¯ NEW CUMBERLAND FAMILY CENTER

49 Nazarene Lane, New Cumberland

Today: 10 a.m. to noon

Thursday: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. to noon.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to noon.

Sunday: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday: 10 a.m. to noon.

¯ MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH OF WEIRTON

121 Ivy St., Weirton

Today: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday: Noon to 2 p.m.

Friday: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 3 p.m.

Monday: 9 a.m. to noon.

¯ SYCAMORE TREE MINISTRIES

2854 Eldersville Road, Follansbee

Today: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: Noon to 3 p.m.

Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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