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Lincoln County families believe it is never too early to make a difference, which is why, whether it is August or December, they are transforming shoeboxes into gifts of joy. Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, delivers the shoeboxes – filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys – to children in need worldwide.

St. Stephen United Methodist Church is one of many local churches that are participating in the project.

Area residents hope to collect 17,978 shoebox gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children.

“Reaching another 11 million children with gifts of hope requires a massive, year-round effort, and we are so grateful for the dedicated volunteers who give of their time and resources throughout the year to collect as many gift-filled shoeboxes as possible,” said Jennifer Fay, area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. “Through these simple gifts, we are able to make a lasting impact on a child’s life and share a tangible expression of God’s love.”

National Collection Week is Nov. 18-25, when some 5,000 drop-off sites will be open to receive shoebox gifts around the country. 

St. Stephen United Methodist Church is the drop-off for Lincoln County. 

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Operation Christmas Child in the area, residents can call Jennifer Fay at (636) 328-7871 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. 

Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories. 

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