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Poland Church to serve as Operation Christmas Child collection site

October 23, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

In Mid-November, Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2985 Center Road, Poland, will serve as a collection location for Operation Christmas Child. The church has participated in the program for some time, but never as a collection site.

"This is the first year that Prince of Peace will be a drop off location for Operation Christmas Child," said the church's Christian Education leader Nora Smith. "We have, however, packed shoe boxes for at least 10 years. Last year, we started collecting items year round and we pack boxes as a group in November. We also have members of the congregation that pack boxes by themselves and bring them in."

Operation Christmas Child is a program through Samaritan's Purse whose aim it is to reach out to the poor and needy children around the globe. The program is meant to deliver a gift of toys, school supplies and personal items, along with a message to brighten a child's day.

"Churches of all denominations participate in Operation Christmas Child, whether it's by packing shoeboxes, hosting packing parties, or serving as a drop off location," said Lucas Zellers from Samaritan's Purse. "Volunteers are organized into more than 400 local area teams around the U.S., who organize and execute collection in their area."

Smith said at Prince of Peace, the church has packed roughly 100 boxes per year on average. In the first year serving as a collection site, Smith said the anticipation is for 600 to 1,000 boxes.

She said individuals or groups can pack shoeboxes and drop them off to the church during collection hours from Nov 18-25. Any shoebox can be used and the church also has some preprinted boxes if someone is in need of a box to fill. People may contact the church to get a box.

Anyone can also drop items to be included in the boxes or cash to cover the cost of shipping, which is $9 per box. That payment can also be made online by visiting www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child. By paying online, a donor will receive a way to track the box.

"Giving online through Follow Your Box will give you a tracking label you can use to discover the destination of your shoebox gift," Zellers said.

The $9 donation provides for collection, processing, shipping, training local churches, the Ministry Partner Guide, and The Greatest Gift Gospel booklets that accompany shoebox gifts.

The web site also has a list of items needed for the boxes. The list includes a "wow item" such as a ball and air pump or a stuffed animal. Also on the list is a personal note, family photo, and a return address. Sometimes a child has send a thank you note to the donor.

As to tracking, Smith said the church has tracked shoe boxes in previous years.

"When you pay online you can print a barcode that is used to track the box and they will email you when they know what country it goes to," Smith said. "In the past we have had boxes go to South Africa, Ukraine, Ecuador, and Malawi, to name a few I can recall."

This year Prince of Peace will join the more than 5,000 collection drop off sites for Operation Christmas Child. Zellers said the shoeboxes collected at Prince of Peace Church will be shipped to one of eight U.S. processing centers to be prepared for overseas shipment. From those centers, the shoebozes will be sent to over 100 countries with children in need.

"Our church puts notes with contact information, but that is optional and up to the packer," Smith said. "We have received a letter from some children that received our boxes in South Africa."

The following schedule is when Prince of Peace Church in Poland will be accepting the shoeboxes. Anyone can donate a shoebox or shoeboxes during these times:

Mon, Nov. 18: 5 to 7 p.m.

Tue, Nov. 19: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wed, Nov. 20: 5 to 7 p.m.

Thu, Nov. 21: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fri, Nov. 22: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fri, Nov. 22: 5 to 7 p.m.

Sat, Nov. 23: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sun, Nov. 24: 1 to 5 p.m.

Mon, Nov. 25: 8 to 10 a.m.

 
 

 

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