Crane Chapel celebrates Christmas early

Though Halloween has just passed and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, one Austin church is keeping Christmas going all year round through Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Gift shoeboxes sit collected at Crane Chapel as part of Operation Christmas Child. Photo provided

Gift shoeboxes sit collected at Crane Chapel as part of Operation Christmas Child. Photo provided

Maryann Bush of Crane Chapel in Austin is Relay Center Coordinator collecting packed shoeboxes from the area during National Collection Week Nov. 16-23. At Crane Chapel during National Collection Week, Nov.16-23, anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas.

“We begin in January planning and collecting items for shoeboxes which are usually packed in November,” she said in a press release.

The annual Samaritan’s Purse project is a favorite of many Austin area residents, families, churches and groups who spread joy to millions of children around the world by filling shoeboxes with a “Wow” item — like a doll or soccer ball — other fun toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.

“Through the simple act of filling a shoebox, someone can make a tangible difference in the life of a child halfway around the world. Anyone can participate and bring joy to a child facing difficult circumstances,” Bush said in the release.

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 delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, a gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

For more information about how to participate in Operation Christmas Child call 507-433-5844. With a computer or mobile device, anyone can conveniently pack a personalized Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift on the Samaritan’s Purse website. Go to samaritanspurse.org/occ to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement and “pack” them in a shoebox. These gifts of hope will go to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries.

Using special tracking technology, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world their gift is delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Times when gifts can be dropped off

•9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 16

•9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 17

•2 p.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 18,

•9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19

•9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 20

•1 p.m.– 4 p.m. Nov. 21

•Noon-2 p.m. Nov. 22

•9 a.m.-11 a.m. Nov. 23

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