Hundreds of Forest Lake residents are on a mission to make a lasting impact on children in need. They are looking beyond their own wish lists and packing shoeboxes for boys and girls around the world. For many of the children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
During the week of Nov. 14 to 21, local residents will transform 90,000 empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement, and fun toys such as a doll or soccer ball. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these shoebox gifts to children overseas living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease, and natural disaster.
“This week, the Forest Lake community is focused on making a difference in the lives of children facing difficult circumstances,” Forest Lake volunteer Lorraine Wellman said in a press release. “There is no joy quite like that of giving, and it is an honor to use our resources to let children around the world know they are loved and not forgotten.”
Forest Lake residents are not alone in their effort to help children around the world. More than 150,000 volunteers including families, churches, and other groups are linking arms across the country to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2016, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children. In the Twin Cities, more than 30 sites will serve as drop-off locations for shoebox gift donations.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 612-359-7025 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. By going online to give the suggested donation of $7 per shoebox gift, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world it will be delivered. They can also pack a shoebox gift online and even upload a photo and note of encouragement.