Operation Christmas Child is a program that's collected and delivered shoe boxes full of gifts since 1993. The Orchards Community Church in Lewiston is one of the many locations in the country that's serving as a collection site this week, to assist the organization surpass their goal of reaching more than 100-million children. Many of the children in the 130 countries the organization serves, live in destitute poverty and the shoebox is likely the first gift they've ever received. Local volunteers said they love working with Samaritan's Purse, the organization that coordinates the Christmas project.
"They don't care who they are," said volunteer Jamie Pernsteiner. "They don't have to be a certain religion, race or anything they just care for kids. They're very organized. They're very good at teaching us what we need to know so that we can do all of our work. And that's why I keep coming back."
"Anything from school supplies to toiletries, toys," said Relay Center Coordinator B.J. Martin. "Different items that a child could use overseas. Often they don't have the basic supplies and this puts those in the hands of the child."
Before dropping off the shoebox, donors can go online and print out a bar-code for a suggested $7 donation. The bar-code allows you to track the gift and see where it ends up in the world.
For instructions on how to pack your shoebox and gift ideas go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/.
The Orchards Community Church is collecting boxes at the date and times listed below:
Wednesday Noon-2 p.m.
Thursday 9am-Noon & 7-8 p.m.
Friday 10-10:30 a.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-Noon
Sunday Noon-2 p.m.
Monday (19th) 7 a.m.-7:30 a.m.