The giving spirit

Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 2, 2012

Students at the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties made necklaces and wrote letters to children on Thursday afternoon for inclusion into shoeboxes mailed out as part of Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child underway in Pike County

Christmastime is a time for giving and Operation Christmas Child has become a favorite way for many to give to children in need around the world.

Operation Christmas Child is a program of Samaritan’s Purse that packs and distributes shoeboxes filled with a variety of gifts to children who would otherwise receive little or nothing at Christmastime.

The Student Government Association at Pike Liberal Arts School collected shoeboxes in support of Operation Christmas Child in an effort to make Christmas a special time for children around the world who are in need. The SGA officers will go to Atlanta in December to pack the boxes to fly to their destinations. Pictured from left, are SGA officers, Robbie Calk, co-vice president; Josie Free, chaplain; Cori Chirico, president; Sara Saunders, treasurer; and Emily Wise, secretary. Standing, Sarah-Hayden Hollis, co-vice president.

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This Christmas season, it is expected that Operation Christmas Child will top more than 100 million donated shoeboxes packed and distributed since 1993.

The Salem-Troy Baptist Association is the local drop-off location for the shoeboxes that are collected in Pike County.

Ken Baggett, Association director of missions, said Operation Christmas Child is a non-denominational organization and, locally, churches of different denominations, schools, clubs and individuals participate.

The collection dates are Nov. 12-19 at the Association office at 317 Ray Ave. in Troy.

“The shoeboxes collected here will be delivered to Montgomery where they will be loaded on an 18-wheeler and taken to Atlanta to be shipped to several counties,” Baggett said. “Last year, the shoeboxes that were shipped from Atlanta went to five or six countries.”

Suggested items for the shoeboxes are small toys, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, school supplies, hard candy, tee shirts, caps, hair clips, toy jewelry, flashlights with batteries and hygiene items including toothbrushes, soap and washcloths.

“Items not to include are chocolate candy, toy guns, knives, war related toys like military figures, vitamins and anything in glass bottles or aerosol cans,” Baggett said.

“The shoeboxes may be wrapped but the top should be wrapped separately. Each box should be marked as to boy or girl and appropriate age. The age divisions are two to four, five to nine and 10-14. Each box should be held closed with a rubber band.”

It is requested that $7 be included in each shoebox to help with the processing cost.

“When the shoeboxes arrive in Atlanta, they are opened and inspected to see what’s inside,” Baggett said. “At that time, the monetary donations will be taken out and collected.”

Baggett said Operation Christmas Child is a worthwhile project that makes a difference in the lives of millions of children each year.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, call the Salem-Troy Baptist Association at 334-566-1538.