BURKE — To a child living in danger, poverty and strife, a 13-by-8-inch box can contain a world of happiness, comfort and encouragement.
And the regional chapter of Operation Christmas Child intends to brighten the lives of thousands of these children this holiday season by giving each of them a shoe box of Christmas joy.
Last year, volunteers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties donated 6,884 shoe boxes full of toys, gifts and candies for distribution worldwide as part of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian international-relief program founded by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.
“Our goal is to have 7,500 this year,” said Rita Alford, the Operation Christmas Child Northern Adirondack area coordinator in Plattsburgh.
Gift boxes can be prepared for boys or girls and are separated into three age groups: 2 to 4 years old, 5 to 9 years old and 10 to 14 years old.
Donors can send small stuffed animals, dolls, school supplies, combs, hair brushes, hair accessories, jump ropes, balls, Matchbox cars, assorted hard candy, small flashlights, socks, underpants, crayons and coloring books and other small toys.
No toys that resemble weapons, no breakable items or things that spill and no chocolate are allowed or accepted for the children’s shoe boxes.
Personal-care item, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, bars of soap and a wash cloth, are also accepted and should be packed in plastic bags inside the box.
Collection week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 18 to 25 at any of the eight regional collection sites.
Donors can either use a clear plastic shoe box to pack their gifts or a standard shoe box, which can be gift wrapped as long as the top and bottom are done separately then fitted together so the box can be opened and checked before it leaves the country.
A $7 donation is asked to accompany each box to cover the shipping costs; checks may be placed in an envelope and set on top of the gifts so volunteers can collect them during package inspections, she said.
Alford said that once the packages are gathered locally, they are shipped to the organization’s headquarters in Boone, N.C., checked and then sent overseas.
Operation Christmas Child is just one of the programs Samaritan’s Purse conducts that reach out to those who are suffering from the conditions of war, disease, famine or natural disaster.
The organization’s website at www.samaritanspurse.org offers more ideas on gift giving and includes videos of children receiving their Operation Christmas Child gifts.
Donors are encouraged to include a letter or a photograph of their families or maps or other information to show the child where they are from in the world.
Alford said donors from the Victory Bible Church in the St. Lawrence County town of Winthrop were thrilled to see that one of the videos features a child in the Republic of Georgia opening one of their shoe boxes.
“They were super excited at seeing the impact their gift had on a little girl in a former Russian country,” she said.
The website also takes the $7 donation online, giving donors the option to track their package and find out where in the world it goes.
Email Denise A. Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org
PACK A SHOE BOX
Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes will be collected at the following sites, dates and times:
Burke United Methodist Church, 1027 West Main St., 483-1407;
Monday, Nov. 18 from 8 to 10 a.m.;
Tuesday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 8 a.m. to noon;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 8 to 9 a.m.
Christ and St. John's Episcopal Church, 18 Butternut St., 293-8543;
Monday, Nov. 18, through Saturday, Nov. 23, from 2 to 6 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from noon to 2 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon.
New Testament Church, 265 Andrews St., (315) 769-9951;
Monday, Nov. 18, and Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Thursday, Nov. 21, and Friday, Nov. 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 9 to 11 a.m.
First Assembly of God, 164 Prospect St., 563-5799;
Monday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 1 to 5 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
\High Peaks Church, 97 Will Rogers Drive, 891-3255;
Monday, Nov. 18, from 2 to 5 p.m.;
Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 2 to 6 p.m.;
Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Thursday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.;
Friday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mountainside Ministry Center, 165 Route 9, 532-7128, Ext. 1;
Monday, Nov. 18, through Thursday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.;
Friday, Nov. 22, from 3 to 7 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Westport Bible Church, 24 Youngs Road, 962-8247;
Monday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Nov. 22, 6 to 8 p.m.;
Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sunday, Nov. 24, from 1 to 5:30 p.m.;
Monday, Nov. 25, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.