Global children’s gift benefit taking donations

Published 6:45 pm Saturday, November 10, 2012

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Austin families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back through Operation Christmas Child.

Participants will fill about 530 colorfully-wrapped shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for impoverished children around the world. The packed gifts can be dropped off Nov. 12-19 at the collection site in Austin, then 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.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse.

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The effort’s goal is to teach children they are loved and not forgotten through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ. For many of these children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they have ever received.

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. Austin residents hope to contribute 530 shoe box gifts to this year’s global collection goal of 9 million to help surpass the 100 million milestone.

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. The Austin drop-off site is at Crane Community Chapel, 1111 Ninth St. NE.

For more information or to find the nearest drop-off site, call 612-359-7025 or visit Drop-off times are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, 1-3 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to noon Monday.