Operation Christmas Child - Delivering shoeboxes of hope

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By Mercy Lopez

As the holidays approach, several area residents are working to make the season brighter for children around the world. Starting on Monday volunteers are hoping to collect shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement to send as part of Operation Christmas Child.

“Through this project, anyone can be a part of giving love and hope in a shoebox,” said Linda Alaniz, coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Las Vegas.

This past Sunday, a group of children finished packing numerous shoeboxes that will be shipped throughout the United States and to more than 110 countries. Calvary Chapel volunteers worked with the children.

The local drop-off location is expected to fill 3,500 shoeboxes to be sent to children across the world.

“For many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received,” said Dana Rickard of Operation Christmas Child.

Since 1993, the program has delivered more than a 100 million shoebox gifts to suffering children around the world. The project is part of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.

Those who wish to donate locally may drop off items next week at Calvary Chapel, located behind Lowe’s Super-Save grocery store near Blake’s Lotaburger on Seventh Street.

Boxes will be accepted from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday; 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday; 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday; 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 10 to 11 a.m. Friday; 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

The last chance to take in a shoebox will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 25.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the project. The group hopes to collect 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes this  year.