Looking for a way to get into the Christmas spirit a little early this year?
Then find an empty shoebox and get ready to bring holiday cheer to a child in need.
Operation Christmas Child is looking for families, churches and civic groups in Jackson County to turn shoeboxes into gifts of hope for children around the world.
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Beginning Monday, there will be two collection sites in Jackson County for people to drop off their shoebox gifts. One is at Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive, Seymour, and the other is at Medora Wesleyan Church, 191 S. David St., Medora.
The shoeboxes should be filled with items, including small toys, school supplies and hygiene items.
All boxes should be dropped off by Nov. 19.
The boxes are delivered through the Christian humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.
On Thursday night, 10 members of Medora Wesleyan Church came together for a packing party at the church and ended up with 28 shoebox gifts.
Volunteer Pam Breeden said this is the second year the church has participated in the project.
“I really enjoyed doing it,” she said. “It’s a wonderful outreach and brought unity to our church to work toward a common goal.”
Breeden brought her grandchildren to help, too.
“It makes me feel great to see them get involved and understand what this means,” she said.
Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.
Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.
This year, the Operation Christmas Child Southeast Indiana Team is working to collect more than 1,600 shoebox gifts in Jackson County. The overall goal is to collect enough shoeboxes around the world to reach 11 million children in need.
Linda Hall, volunteer area coordinator for southeast Indiana, said the project makes a big impact on both the volunteers who pack the boxes and the children who receive them.
“We serve in this ministry because we love children,” Hall said. “We can’t be there to ease their pain, but we can send our love to them in a shoebox. It is our prayer that they will also see God’s love for them through this simple gift.”
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Operation Christmas Child drop-off locations
Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive, Seymour
3 to 6 p.m. Monday
3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday
3 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday
4 to 7 p.m. Friday
1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 17
1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 18
9 to 11 a.m. Nov. 19
Medora Wesleyan Church, 191 S. David St., Medora
9 to 11 a.m. Monday
9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday
9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday
5 to 8 p.m. Thursday
9 to 11 a.m. Friday
9 to 11 a.m. Nov. 17
1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 18
9 to 11 a.m. Nov. 19
For information on making a donation or how to volunteer, contact Linda Hall at 812-637-3637 or [email protected] or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.