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Operation: Christmas Child kicking off Nov. 12

By Staff
Jason Cannon
Franklin County Times
Local volunteers are collecting simple shoe box gifts personally packed by children, families, and individuals in Franklin County.
The shoe box gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means necessary – sea containers, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, helicopters, boats, camels, even dog sleds – to reach suffering children around the world.
"All you need to do is fill a shoe box with gifts," said Rick Murrell, pastor of Red Bay First Baptist Church who is leading the local effort. "We'll pack them up and take them to Tupelo. Then they'll go to Atlanta where they'll be shipped all over the world."
Operation: Christmas Child began in the United States in 1993 with 28,000 shoebox gifts.
Since then, the kids-helping-kids project has collected more than 54 million shoe box gifts and hand-delivered them to needy children in some 120 countries, including children in war-torn countries, Southeastern Asian children who survived the 2005 tsunami and war orphans.
"They've been all over the world," Murrell said.
Inside each box, along with the toys, is a message about Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.
Murrell said Operation: Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the good news of God's love.
This program of Samaritan's Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands- on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ.
"It's like being a missionary," Murrell added. "Those boxes can go anywhere. Doors are opened for them that are usually closed to Christian missionaries."
Filled shoe boxes can be dropped off Nov. 12 -17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov 18 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 10:30.
How to donate
Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child's age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
Fill the box with a variety of gifts.
Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs.
Place a rubber band around each shoe box and lid and drop off at Red Bay First Baptist Church.
Additional instructions and labels are available at Operation: Christmas Child's Web site, www.samaritanspurse.org.

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