Operation: Christmas Child underway now

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2001

Staff Writer

Operation Christmas Child has become one of the favorite ways for holiday giving for many Pike County residents.

Last year the Salem-Troy Baptist Association collected 675 shoe boxes that were filled with a variety of gifts to be sent to children around the world at Christmas time, said Jean Snoddy, coordinator of the Salem-Troy collection effort.

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"Operation Christmas Child is an exciting way to reach hurting children around the world," Snoddy said. "It brings the joy of Christmas to needy children through an exciting program that demonstrates God’s love through gift-filled shoe boxes."

Snoddy said the shoe boxes are collected locally and sent to collection centers operated by Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian relief and evangelism organization founded by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.

Snoddy said no specific goal for giving has been set, but she would like to see 1,000 shoe boxes donated from the Pike County area.

The Salem-Troy Baptist Association office, 317 Ray Ave. is the drop off site for filled gift shoe boxes and is also the pickup site for brochures and boxes.

"At this time we have about 400 shoe boxes available for pickup," Snoddy said. "Some people don’t have shoe boxes around the house so we are making them available as far as they will go."

Those who have shoe boxes are asked to wrap them with holiday paper.

"The shoe box and lid should be wrapped separately," Snoddy said. "The boxes will be checked in Atlanta and that is the reason for wrapping them separately."

Suggested items for the boxes are:

· Toys: Small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, etc.

· School supplies: pens, pencils, sharpeners, crayons, markers, stamps, coloring books, chalk, writing pads, paper, solar calculators, etc.

· Hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, comb, washcloth, etc.

· Other: Hard candy, lollipops, mints, gum, sunglasses, flashlights with extra batteries, ball caps, socks, tee shirts, toy jewelry, hair clips, watches, small picture books, etc.

Items not to include are used items, toys guns, knives or other war related items, perishable food items, liquids of any kind, medicines of any kind and breakable items.

"We encourage everyone to enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself and/or your family," Snoddy said. "If you include your name and address, the child who receives your box may write you back. Some of those who sent boxes last year have heard from the children who received them. That is a wonderful gift in return."

Donations of $5 per box are requested to help cover shipping and other costs. Checks are recommended rather than cash.

The Salem-Troy Baptist Association office is open from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. until noon Friday.

Brochures and boxes, as long as they last, can be picked up during those hours.

Collection dates for the shoe box gifts have been set for Nov. 12 through 16 at regular office hours.