First Baptist Church is Janesville drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child
That's why Laura Bornemann, relay coordinator at the intake center for Operation Christmas Child in Janesville, is encouraging people to get involved and help underprivileged kids around the world.
Anybody—regardless of age—can participate. Enlist others—families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses—to create shoebox gifts, she said.
"Go to the store, think gender and age and start buying stuff for that boy or girl," Bornemann explains. "Then go home, put it in a shoebox and write a letter thinking about the person hopefully receiving it, telling them a bit about yourself and your family."
Not sure what to buy? Bornemann offers these ideas: Small stuffed teddy bears, pencils, hair bows for a girl, a ball for a boy, a book, crayons and a coloring book, socks, hard candy or gum.
"I went to the store yesterday, probably spent $25 to $30 and had four boxes filled. It really doesn't take a lot of money to fill a shoebox," she said.
Those who can't get out to shop can help by making a cash donation for shipping of the boxes. Checks should be made out to Samaritan's Purse and delivered to First Baptist Church, 3414 Woodhall Drive, Janesville.
Shoeboxes should be wrapped in Christmas paper, but lids should be wrapped separate from the bottom of the box to allow for inspection before shipment, Bornemann said.
Here's what you need to know about the project:
1. Collection dates. National Collection Week is Nov. 14-21.
2. Local collection site. First Baptist Church, where local volunteers are busy preparing to receive around 900 gift-filled shoeboxes.
3. Collection dates and hours. 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 14-15 and 17-18; 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16; 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20; 9 to 11:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 21.
4. What is Operation Christmas Child? It is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind, having hand-delivered 86 million gifts to children worldwide since 1993. A project of international Christian relief and evangelism group Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child reaches suffering children worldwide with "gifts of hope." This year's donations from the Upper Midwest will be sent to Zambia in South Africa and to India.
5. For more information. Call the church at (608) 752-8151 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.