(WTVM) - With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Chattahoochee Valley families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back.
Through Operation Christmas Child, locals are joining tens of thousands of people across the U.S. to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for impoverished children around the world.
In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone—collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Chattahoochee Valley residents hope to contribute 15,500 shoe box gifts to this year's global collection goal of 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes in order to help surpass the 100 million milestone.
November 12-19, packed gifts will be dropped off at collection sites in the Chattahoochee Valley, including Columbus, Phenix City, Auburn, Valley, LaGrange, Ellerslie and Roanoke. Once dropped off, the shoe boxes are processed, prepared and transported to suffering children in more than 100 countries using whatever means necessary—trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds—to get the shoe boxes into the hands of needy kids.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind. Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they've ever received.
By using special tracking technology, participants can "follow" their shoe box and discover the country in which their gift will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register your shoe box gift, use the "Follow Your Box" form online.
Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. The time to pack a shoe box gift is now!
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, or to find the nearest drop-off site, call 706-718-4240 or visit www.SamaritansPurse.org/OCC.