Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas gift distribution conducted annually by the Samaritan’s Purse international relief organization based in nearby Boone, N.C., will be collecting its signature gift-filled shoe boxes for children around the world through Monday at drop off locations across the Tri-Cities.
University Parkway Baptist Church is serving as the Operation Christmas Child hub in the Johnson City area and is expecting more than 3,000 shoeboxes packed with small toys, school supplies and hygiene items to be dropped off for delivery to impoverished children in 130 countries, including the United States and including many children who have never before received a Christmas present.
Since its launch in 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoeboxes to more than 100 million children.
The basic instructions are to wrap an empty shoebox and lid separately in brightly colored Christmas wrapping paper. Pack the box with toys, schools supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, personal notes of encouragement to the children and a $7 donation to cover the cost of its delivery. Secure the lid with a large rubber band so that its contents can be inspected for safety. And attach a label to the outside of the box designating it for a boy or a girl ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 years.
Or, for a $30 online donation, a shoebox can be built to order at samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child.
More information about Operation Christmas Child is also available at the website or may be obtained by contacting volunteer Scott Thompson at University Parkway Baptist church at 426-1594 or email@example.com.
In the Johnson City area, shoe boxes may be dropped off at the following locations:
University Parkway Baptist Church, 219 University Parkway, today and Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; and Monday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Heritage Baptist Church, 1512 John Exum Parkway, today and Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Sunday, noon- 2 p.m.; and Monday, 10 a.m. - noon.
Cherry Grove Baptist Church, 104 Cherry Grove Road, Jonesborough, Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.; and Monday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
n First Christian Church, 307 S. Main Ave.; Erwin, today, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Sunday, 2 - 6 p.m.; and Monday 10 - 11 a.m.
Hunter First Baptist Church, 693 Highway 91, Elizabethton, Friday, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m.; and Monday, 10 a.m. - noon.
The results are in on Project Thanksgiving, WCQR, 88.3 Christian Radio’s drive to provide holiday food boxes and turkeys to low-income families across the eight counties of Northeast Tennessee served by the region’s Second Harvest Food Bank.
The drive wrapped up with an all-day radiothon on Nov. 14 and on Nov. 15 the food bank announced for the fifth year in a row Project Thanksgiving will provide an entire Thanksgiving meal to more than 5,500 local families in need.
Each of the food boxes will include a turkey, beans, corn, potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, rolls, dessert and more made possible by a $25 donation from area businesses, churches, community groups or individuals.
WCQR General Manager Mike Perry said, “God has blessed those who listen to our station with an unfailing willingness to give back to the community. We are thrilled to let over 5,500 families know that they won’t be going hungry this Thanksgiving.”
For those who wish to help, donations to Second Harvest earmarked for “Thanksgiving meal boxes” can be made online at www.netfoodbank.org or by mail to Second Harvest Food Bank, 1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, TN, 37663
If there’s a need or a charitable project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.