This is collection week for Operation Christmas Child, also known as Operation Shoebox.
The world’s largest Christmas project, Operation Christmas Child has distributed some 178 million shoebox gifts to children in need in 160 countries.
Although it was started in Wales in 1990, this is the 27th year that it has been part of the nondenominational evangelical Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse.
Operation Christmas Child has its own shoeboxes, but regular shoeboxes and even plastic boxes of that size are fine.
Suggestions on what to put in a shoebox can be found at the Samaritan’s Purse website or in a pamphlet available at the community collection sites, but fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items such as combs, toothbrushes, soap, and washcloths are among the recommended items.
Each shoebox costs Operation Christmas Child $9 for shipping and handling, and while a donation of that amount isn’t required, it is suggested.
Those wanting to help but unable to fill a shoebox can donate toward the shipping costs of others either online or at the local collections sites.
There are 7 community collection sites in the Panhandle: Ridgeview Bible Church of Chadron; the Harrison Bible Church, the Evangelical Free Church in Alliance and Sidney, Church of Christ in Bridgeport, Mitchell Berean Church, and Trinity United Methodist Church in Kimball
Hours in Chadron are 9-5 Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00-Noon on Friday, 9-11:00 Saturday, noon-2:00 Sunday, and 9-11:00 Monday plus Wednesday night from 7-8:30.
Harrison hours are 5-9:00 PM Wednesday, 10:00-noon Thursday and Friday, 9-11:30 Saturday, 9:30-1:30 Sunday, and 10:00-noon next Monday.
There are 4 other collection sites in the region: the Lifeway Church in Torrington, the Hot Springs Evangelical Free Church, and the Dove Center and The Foundry, both in Rapid City.