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  • Last modified 31 days ago (Nov. 16, 2017)

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From local churches to needy children, with love

Staff writer

More than a dozen local churches are packing gift boxes for distribution worldwide to children who are victims of war, poverty, disasters, disease, and famine.

Churches have until Monday to get their gifts, packed in shoeboxes, to Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro for shipping, according to the church’s Sherry Edwards.

Volunteers at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion got a jump on the deadline Saturday, packing 298 shoeboxes for boys and girls ages 2 to 14 and loading them onto a trailer to be driven to Hillsboro.

Hillsboro is the first leg of the boxes’ journey to countries around the world as part of a non-denominational effort called Operation Christmas Child, operated by Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based evangelical organization.

Other area churches participating include Alexanderwohl Mennonite, Aulne United Methodist, Chisholm Trail Bible, Emmanuel Baptist, First Baptist of Durham, Goessel Mennonite, Grace Community, Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren, Hillsboro Missionary Baptist, Marion Christian, Parkview Mennonite Brethren, and Strassburg Baptist.

Sandra Garrard, one of Eastmoor’s team leaders, said toys, school supplies, clothing and the like are collected June to November.

“Some people buy all year,” she said, “especially when you get the sales.”

She estimated that 50 Eastmoor families donated to the cause.

“I want to spread the Gospel around the world,” Garrard said. “I’m a teacher, and kids are what I do.”

From Hillsboro, the gift boxes go to Wichita, then to a distribution center, which this year is in Denver. Each box includes $9 to defray the cost of overseas shipping.

County churches typically donate 1,500 to 2,000 Operation Christmas Child boxes each year, Edwards said.

Sarah Pasche, media relations coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, said boxes are shipped to more than 100 countries.

Volunteers examine the contents to make sure they contain no hazardous, fragile, inappropriate, or fluid contents. An online tool allows donors to see where their boxes were shipped.

In 2016, the organization collected more than 9.1 million shoebox gifts. It hopes to collect 9.6 million this year.

Last modified Nov. 16, 2017

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