Winston County Operation Christmas Child in full swing

Winston County families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back. Through Operation Christmas Child, local groups and individuals are joining tens of thousands of people across the U.S. to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessary items for impoverished children around the world.

“It’s neat to think that from my home in Winston County, my family can impact the life of a child thousands of miles away by simply filling a shoe box with gifts … it’s so easy,” said Dihan McCullough, a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child in Winston County. “For children living in extreme conditions, these boxes let them know that they are loved and not forgotten and that there is hope for their situation.”

In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone — collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Mississippi residents hope to contribute 10,000 shoe box gifts to this year’s global collection goal of 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes in order to help surpass the 100 million milestone and Winston Countians can play their part in the mission. Winston Countians can collect and make the shoeboxes and drop off at the local center: First Baptist Church, Louisville will be the collection site again. Hours will be Monday, Nov. 12 to Sat. Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Also, Monday morning Nov. 19, 9a.m. to 11a.m. Special times can be made by calling Mary Ann Yates at 772-7639.

Once dropped off, the shoe boxes are processed, prepared and transported to suffering children in more than 100 countries.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse is headed by Franklin Graham, is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. By using special tracking technology, participants can follow their shoe box and discover the country in which their gift will be hand- delivered to a child in need. To register your shoe box gift, use the “Follow Your Box” form online.

Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. The time to pack a shoe box gift is now. For information on how to participate, visit www.SamaritansPurse.org/OCC.