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Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week nears

Courtesy photo On Saturday, Oct. 26, drop-off leaders and short term volunteers gathered at Grace Church in Gladstone for a training and prep day for Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week, which this year is Nov. 18 through 25. Shown from left are Becki, Kristi, and Scott Mitchell and his wife Theresa. Scott Mitchell is the drop-off leader from Munising.

GLADSTONE — National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child will be the third week of November, Nov. 18-25. This is the week the shoeboxes full of gifts are turned in all over the United States and seven other participating countries. The shoeboxes are then distributed to children in impoverished countries.

Operation Christmas Child is just one small part of this long list of Samaritan’s Purse ministries, and is dedicated to bringing gifts to children in impoverished and war torn countries, where they may have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ before. Most have never received a gift of any kind before. After receiving a shoebox filled with toys, school supplies, and the Gospel news in their language, they are invited back to join a twelve lesson class, called “The Greatest Journey,” where they learn Bible stories and lessons about how to become a Christian. Millions of children have come to know Jesus this way.

There are several businesses and organizations in the area that are collecting shoeboxes. Contact Deanna Derusha, the Delta County community relations person, at 906-280-7834 for more information more about how your community group or business can join this ministry opportunity.

Grace Church — located at 528 28th Street in Gladstone, on M35 – kitty-corner from Cameron Elementary School — is again the central drop-off location for the Upper Peninsula, but any church can join in the ministry. Contact Carla Irving at 906-428-1631 or Frank Royer at 906-399-2893 for Grace Church’s open hours during National Collection Week or more information.

Any shoebox works for packing gifts. The tops of boxes can be wrapped or covered in stickers, but because the boxes must go through customs several times before reaching a child, boxes cannot be wrapped shut. Boxes should be closed with a rubber band — do not use ribbons or bows, as these can be lost in transit.

Those packing boxes are also advised not to include toothpaste — toothbrushes are accepted — or any liquids, glass, candy, perishable or breakable items, or anything that could damage the rest of the package’s contents in the mail.

For more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC. Individuals who would like to put together shoeboxes as a group are invited to bring a bag lunch and join organizers at Grace Church on Sunday, Nov. 17, right after church service, around noon to 2 p.m.

Items collected to be donated may also be dropped off starting Tuesday, Nov. 12 and during office hours at Grace. For church hours, call the church office at 906-428-1331.

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