Samaritan’s Purse distributes shoeboxes of gifts to kids in need around the world

— Photo from Samaritan's Purse project

Kids in Zambia open the gifts in their shoeboxes.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, the Samaritan’s Purse Project hopes people will show their gratitude by giving back — filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world.

Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week runs from Nov. 12 to 19, but shoeboxes filled with gifts will be accepted after that, too.

The Samaritan's Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty. and famine. The New York Greater Capital District Area Team volunteers hope to collect more than 13,300 gifts during the week.

More than 150,000 United States volunteers, including families, churches, and other groups are joining forces  in hopes of reaching 11 million children.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 518-437-0690, or visit Nearby churches that are participating include:

— Open Arms Church at 2714 Curry Road, Schenectady, NY 12303-3461;

—  Pineview Community Church at 251 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12205-5504; and

— King's Chapel at 440 Route 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077-3327.

Participants may donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse 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.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

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