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Shoebox gifts collected for needy children

Operation Christmas Child is ramping up as volunteers prepare to collect gift-filled shoe boxes during National Collection Week, November 18-25.

The local collection site is at New Life Christian Church, 1910 County Road 82 Southeast, Alexandria.

Hours of operation are Monday and Tuesday, November 18-19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, November 20-22, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to noon; Sunday, November 24, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Monday, November 25, 9 to 11 a.m.

Anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoe box to send to a child overseas. The shoe box gifts will be delivered to children worldwide using whatever means necessary, including trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants.

For many children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they have ever received.

Though the shoe box gifts will often travel thousands of miles, Operation Christmas Child offers a way for participants to follow their box by using the donation form found at Donors will receive an e-mail telling the country where their boxes are delivered.

Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoe box gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoe boxes in 2013. It is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

Shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. Participants can also build a box through an online tool offering a personalized way to send a gift to a child in a hard-to-reach country.

For more information, call 1-800-567-8580 or visit