During the week of Nov. 18-25, community members filled shoe boxes with school supplies, toys and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world.
Shoe box packers had the opportunity to fill as many boxes as they wanted, for both boys and girls. Every third week in November, shoe box packers join The Samaritan’s Purse in Operation Christmas Child’s national collection week.
The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with churches worldwide to deliver these gifts to children around the world who’ve been affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. For some children, the shoe box is the first gift they have ever received. Eastside area volunteers’ goal was to collect more than 7,512 gifts during the week.
“It’s amazing to see the local community rally together for a global impact,” said Nathan Jansen, Samaritan’s Purse regional director, in a press release. “We see all ages getting involved — and more and more every year.”
My Story Church in Bothell has been a drop-off location for five years. Pastor Jen Endsley has overseen the Operation Christmas Child project for those fives years. My Story Church shoe box collections have ranged from 800-1,600, according to Endsley.
“Our drop-off center allows us to be more involved with the community,” she said. “We have people from all over our community coming and bringing boxes to us. This gives us the opportunity to meet them and [we] get to know their stories, their backgrounds and why their families choose to do this each year. It just allows us to play a bigger part of that story.”
Volunteers at each location help pack thousands of shoe boxes. Once the shoe boxes are packed in large packing boxes, they are shipped to the Woodinville collection center, where they are hauled on to semi trailers and driven to the southern California processing center. From there, the boxes are shipped worldwide.
Endsley said this project is a great opportunity for people to get involved in their communities, churches, and internationally.
“It’s an easy way for people who don’t have a lot of time,” she said. “It’s an way for them to give back and involve [the] kids.
More than 150,000 U.S. volunteers, including families, churches and other groups joined forces to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind.
Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts to reach 11 million children, with 7,512 coming from the local area.
Operation Christmas Child had two drop-off locations in Bellevue and one in Woodinville.
To learn about Samaritan’s Purse International Relief’s Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samirtanpurse.org.