South Mississippi churches gather boxes for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child now underway at coast churches

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Operation Christmas Child volunteers from churches across South Mississippi unload vehicles daily filled with dozens of stuffed shoe boxes. If you haven’t already, you have until November 23 to fill-up the boxes with hygiene items, supplies and small toys.

The boxes will be delivered to children nationwide, and for many, this is the only gift they may receive.

“Some of the Indian reservations receive shoeboxes, but there are numerous organizations within the United States that can provide for our children that are not available to children in third world countries.” said Liz Cook, a collection center drop-off team leader.

Just last year, the organization shipped more than 10 million shoeboxes to children between the ages of two and fourteen, setting the bar even higher this year, hoping to ship an extra one million. This week alone, Gulf Coast Baptist Association received nearly 2,000 boxes already.

“With each gift, they also give them the gospel in their own language so they get to learn about God,” said Cook.

When individuals receive the empty boxes, they’re encouraged to fill them with school supplies, small toys, and even hygiene items.

Once boxes are packed, they’re then asked to include the $9 shipping fee in the form of a check, money order, or online.

Each drop-off, volunteers say a prayer after unpacking the boxes. Once all donations are received leading up to November 23, they then will be sent to processing centers.

“Ours go to the processing center in Atlanta,” said Cook. “They open every show box, go through it and make sure there’s nothing that shouldn’t be in there. Take out any money donations that are included. If they something out they put something in.”

To find your local drop off location, click here.

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